Just 25% of commercial ratepayers in county Louth have lodged eligible applications for the business Restart Grants – funding made available to micro and small businesses to assist them in reopening their doors post-lockdown.
Of 4,500 properties on the rate books of Louth County Council – only 1,526 applications have been received. 389 of them were rejected due to being duplicate applications or ineligible.
A total pot of €250 million was first made available to local authorities across the country as part of the government response to helping small businesses who were forced to close or eligible businesses who remained open but in difficult financial circumstances. As part of the July Stimulus announced late last month, a further €300 million was made available as part of an enhanced Restart Grant.
When first announced in May, the grant allocation was based on an enterprise’s commercial rates bill for 2019 with a minimum payment of €2,000 and a maximum payment of €10,000 available. Now, the maximum grant available will rise to €25,000 and the minimum payment will be €4,000.
“Firms that accessed the Restart Grant will be eligible to apply for a second top-up payment to a total combined value of the revised minimum and maximum grant levels,” Independent councillor Declan Power said. “Under the revised Restart Grant, support will also be provided for enterprises that could not access the original grant scheme. Non-rated B&Bs and rateable sports businesses will be eligible for a grant payment of €4,000.”
There are 49 B&Bs in county Louth. Cllr Power added; “Applications for the enhanced grant will open in due course through the Local Authorities. Non-rated B&Bs will be eligible to apply to Fáilte Ireland.”
Businesses eligible for accessing the enhanced Restart Grant scheme include those with 250 employees or less, turnover of less than €100,000 per employee and reduced turnover by 25% as a result of COVID-19.