We are delighted to bring you this update on our advocacy agenda and recent policy developments affecting businesses. As the summer season draws to a close, Dublin Chamber is redoubling its lobbying efforts to ensure that the voice of business is heard in the new Dáil term.
The Housing for All plan announced by Minister Darragh O’Brien last week is a welcome sign that the Government is heeding our concerns about the impact of the housing shortage on competitiveness and quality of life in the Greater Dublin Area. Increased funding for affordable housing development and brownfield regeneration, and the commitment to land value sharing to dampen speculation, are particularly notable, but more detail is needed on how the plan will be implemented. That is why this week we released a new paper promoting a range of reforms to the planning system, which you can read more about below.
Businesses across Dublin are now looking forward to the scheduled relaxations of public health restrictions and to a return to the office in the coming months. The Government’s reopening plan promises that attendance at work for specific business requirements may commence on a phased and staggered attendance basis from 20th September. But the way that businesses reopen their premises will have a major impact on work practices, business costs, commuter patterns, urban footfall, and the atmosphere of our capital city.
Considerable uncertainty faces firms looking to develop their plans for a return to the office. We are seeking your feedback through our Q3 Business Reopening Survey in order to inform our lobby with Government on the issue. I encourage you to check your inbox and take 3 minutes to fill it out. Hospitality and retail businesses in the city centre have been amongst the worst hit by Covid, as demand plummeted. On 24th September, we will be holding a focus group on the future of the Dublin city centre economy post-Covid. If you are interested in participating to share your views, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more about Covid-19 supports and other policy developments below. As always, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with your feedback or concerns by contacting email@example.com.
Government has now set down the plan for the return to the workplace. The future world of work may take many forms including a hybrid model where employees return to their workplaces say 2 to 3 days per week and work remotely the rest of the week. The success of hybrid working when we return to the office will be highly dependent on how clearly the purpose of the office is understood, defined and embraced.
PwC has developed the '4Rs' (Remember, Rebuild, Redefine, Reimagine) to define the purpose of your future office.
Business Resumption Support Scheme Open for Registration
The Business Resumption Support Scheme (or BRSS) is now open for registration on Revenue Online Service (ROS). The BRSS is a new support scheme for businesses with reduced turnover as a result of public health restrictions. Qualifying businesses will be able to apply to Revenue for a cash payment, representing an advance credit for trading expenses that are deductible for income and/or corporation tax purposes.
Payments will be calculated on the basis of 3 weeks at 10% of the first €1m in turnover per week and 5% thereafter, based on average VAT exclusive turnover for 2019, and will be subject to a maximum payment of €15,000. Businesses will be required to have tax clearance and payment will be conditional on the business actively trading on 1 September with an intention to continue to trade.
An extensive PDF with guidelines on the BRSS is available here.
More information from Revenue on the BRSS is available here.
Renewing Our City: Planning for Our Future
Dublin Chamber has renewed its call for a single elected mayor covering the whole Dublin region, as well as many other changes to help get the capital city back on track post-Covid. In a new policy paper, the Chamber outlines 13 key recommendations to encourage urban renewal and revitalisation of town and city centres through cohesive plans and joined-up thinking, as well as legislative and planning reforms. You can read the document in full here.
Update on EWSS & Unemployment Supports
Here are two things you should know about the wage subsidy and unemployment benefits currently available on account of Covid-19.
First, there has been a clarification on the turnover requirement for the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme. EWSS will be in place until 31 December 2021. The exemption from the 30% reduction in turnover requirement for ELC and SAC providers is in place until 30 September 2021. A decision on the continuation of the exemption after 30 September will be made in the coming weeks.
Second, in line with the government’s Economic Recovery Plan, the Covid-19PUP will be gradually reduced on a tapered basis over a 6 month period until February 2022 to align it with the standard jobseekers payments. This transition commences in September 2021.
The top three rates of PUP will reduce by €50 this month. The maximum weekly rate of €350 will reduce to €300. The current rate of €300 will reduce to €250 and the current rate of €250 will reduce to €203. The new payment rates will be reflected in payments received later in September.
People on the €203 PUP rate will transition to standard jobseekers’ terms. People who are receiving this rate of payment will be advised in the coming weeks on their options regarding standard Jobseekers’ payments, that is, Jobseeker’s Benefit or Jobseeker’s Allowance. Payment of PUP will continue while jobseeker claims are being processed. Two further phases of rate changes are scheduled to take place from 16 November 2021 and 8 February 2022. As PUP recipients go on to the €203 rate in each phase, they will be transitioned to standard jobseeker terms.
OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
If your business is a multinational, you should be aware that the Irish Government has established a National Contact Point (NCP) as part of its commitment to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The NCP is located in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and exists to promote the Guidelines, provide information on their implementation, manage stakeholder enquiries and provide a grievance mechanism to resolve complaints relating to non-observance. You can read more information here.
Meanwhile, Dublin Chamber has been gathering member feedback on the Department of Finance consultation regarding the OECD’s proposed international corporate tax framework and will be feeding this into Government.
Meeting Ireland’s Sustainable Development Goals
The Government is soon to begin drafting its next SDG National Implementation Plan. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are far reaching and encompass all aspects of social, economic, and environmental sustainability. For Dublin and Ireland to progress on the SDGs all stakeholders need to be engaged and progress needs to be monitored and encouraged.
Dublin Chamber is recommending to Government that the next SDG National Implementation Plan include set actions for delivery, that Government departments incorporate the SDGs into strategy, and that the plan include provision for Government to provide regular updates on national and departmental progression.
The data collection on the SDGs is not yet robust, and this needs to be improved on.
Additionally, the Chamber is urging that the business community, as hugely influential and impactful stakeholders in sustainability, are afforded suitable means of inputting to the data collection process on the actions that they are taking in support of the SDGs.
Finally, key to the success of progressing on the SDGs is creating the required public awareness and understanding of the SDGs. This is particularly important within the business community as enabling stakeholders to engage with the SDGs in such a way that is appropriate for their business activities specifically will have significant impact on progress.
Circular Economy Innovation Grants
Minister of State with special responsibility for the Circular Economy and Communications, Ossian Smyth TD, has announced funding of €490,000 for 10 projects across Ireland under the first Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme (CEIGS). For more information, please click here.