Chamber News

Time for Government to act says Chamber CEO

Waterford Chamber is calling on the Government to reassess and refresh the Covid supports for business over the coming months.

According to Gerald Hurley, CEO Waterford Chamber, “It is now almost a year since the pandemic hit and the time has come for Government to assess the suitability and effectiveness of the existing supports. At this time, there needs to be a roadmap or exit strategy for when the time comes to remove the supports. We need to be cognisant of the fact that a lot of businesses are only operating right now because of these supports. What happens when they stop? We cannot afford to see mass job losses and businesses closing all over Waterford.

“In addition, what about those who don’t qualify for support? Can they sustain another six months of this? Government needs to look at the parameters around the qualification for these schemes. Too few businesses are currently qualifying and their future now hangs in the balance.

“For example, the CRSS is limited to businesses that are public facing. This excludes many businesses that have been directed to shut in the latest wave of restrictions. Therefore, non-essential retailers may receive assistance because of the closures meanwhile their suppliers do not. We need new payment subsidies for all businesses who have been forced to shut.

“Budget 2021 has a Contingency Fund – surely this is exactly what it is to be used for? Nobody could foresee this pandemic lasting this long and it will continue until the roll out of the vaccine is complete.

“If Government doesn’t act now, their lack of action will result in a wave of insolvencies and job losses that our local economy simply cannot afford. Now is the time to great a robust recovery plan, support local economies and let is come out of this pandemic in a strong position. The alternative is unthinkable.”

 

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"Waterford is a very attractive location for Foreign Direct Investment as it is a dynamic city which is very much open for business – the city has a proven track record of attracting investment from start-ups and expanding business, who are hugely supported by Waterford Chamber. The city, county and region offers a young, well educated workforce and is easily accessible for international visitors. Waterford’s quality of life for employees is exceptional as it blends elements of rich cultural heritage with a new and vibrant lifestyle – with new additions such as the Greenway further showcasing the county to not only locals, but visitors from all over Ireland and overseas. The Chamber has been a vital link in welcoming our companies into the local Business Community – helping them not only network, but also gain a sense of community and belonging."

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