Becky Kealy: SMEs In Cork North-West Must Be Supported
Aontú Rep for Cork North-West Becky Kealy has called for the urgent bailout and support of Small to Medium Sized Businesses in her constituency of Cork North-West and for the government to cease being bystanders as SMEs go to the wall across the country.
The lockdown has hit businesses in Cork really hard. Many businesses will shut down for good. Those that survive will be shackled by crippling, ongoing debt. SMEs are the backbone of the Irish Economy and employ the vast majority of workers – if they fail, we fail.
The impact of the pandemic and lockdown will be devastating unless the government acts to provide real supports for SMEs in their hour of need. If these businesses do not reopen, the government are facing large scale unemployment and pressure on our social welfare system. Quite simply, to safeguard the economy – SMEs must be safeguarded first.
Monies owed by insolvent businesses will never be repaid. In turn, there will be a cascading effect upon other businesses, the banking system, local authorities and the revenue themselves. The state would have to fund long term social welfare for possibly hundreds of thousands of people for many years.
SMEs that do not collapse will be forced to service debt. The government thought the best solution to these difficulties was to offer struggling SMEs a loan –which clearly would have not been enough and certainly would not have solved the problem. Loans alone will slow down recovery and reemployment for years. In turn the government will have shackled businesses to the endless servicing and repaying of debts that never seem to end.
Aontú is calling for a multi billion euro Small to Medium Business Fund to be developed. We are also calling for a Small to Medium Business Cabinet Minister on a temporary basis for the duration of this crisis. Businesses should be allowed to draw down funds to meet otherwise unrecoverable crisis related costs only. The government could consider an equity swap for these funds for larger businesses to be repaid in the future when its feasible.
We have emerged from a decade when our main streets were lined by shuttered shops and closed businesses. Many of our small towns and villages suffered serious dereliction. We cannot allow so many Small to Medium sized businesses be thrown on the scrap heap and face another decade of have near empty towns and villages.