The government has abandoned a planned cut to the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) to attempt to help businesses that been adversely impacted by the latest COVID-19 restrictions.
The Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) said in a statement, "Hotel and guesthouse owners have welcomed the additional business and employment supports that were announced today by the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe TD, and the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath TD. Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) President, Elaina Fitzgerald Kane, acknowledged the Government's continued commitment to businesses most affected by public health restrictions. She added that the IHF looked forward to engaging with Government on the qualification criteria for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) so that nobody is left behind.
"Thanking the Government for their recognition of the severity of the challenges being faced by businesses due to the latest restrictions, Ms Fitzgerald Kane commented, 'The Government strategy of supporting sectors most affected has worked so far. We welcome the assurances in today’s announcement that no sector will be left behind and it will be vital that the scheme does not exclude any businesses. These latest supports will help businesses to survive during the tough months ahead, and, importantly, will safeguard livelihoods and keep teams together.'
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"Ms Fitzgerald Kane added, 'Today's announcement gives much needed certainty to business owners whose normally buoyant festive season has been decimated because of increased public health restrictions. Normally December trade sustains the very challenging off-peak months at the start of the new year, but this has been wiped out this year. Currently hotels are reporting average occupancy rates of 35% for December and just 13% in January and February.'
"'Tourism is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, accounting for one in ten of all jobs, 70% of which are outside of Dublin. Government supports have been important to restoring employment and will continue to be going forward, helping to support the viability of individual businesses and the wider sector until business levels recover. These jobs matter - not only to the people working within the industry but to the wider economy, especially the many parts of regional Ireland where tourism is the only show in town,' said Ms Fitzgerald Kane."
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