Chambers Ireland actively engages with Government with regard to COVID-19 and the recovery of the economy, on behalf of the national Chambers Network.
The following outlines recent positions taken by Chambers Ireland, and includes calls to action.
The Chambers Ireland team have regularly engaged with Minister English and the Department of Enterprise through the Retail Forum. Through these Government Forums, the team has consistently highlighted the need for more expansive supports for the business community. Too many of the supports put in place before Christmas were too narrow and resulted in too many businesses being exempted.
Chambers Ireland view of the CRSS scheme -which was articulated in the autumn as the Finance Bill made its way through the Oireachtas and again in January, resulted in the introduction of the CBAS scheme. Although, at time of writing, we are still waiting on more information regarding when this scheme will be accessible.
Chambers Ireland also provides thorough feedback to Government on aspects o Re-Opening and on COVID-19 Supports.
While Chambers Ireland welcomed Government’s willingness to introduce new supports, the team was critical of Government’s short-sightedness and continue to highlight that supports need to be broader, simple to administrate and easy to access.
Chambers Ireland also noted that the while the extensions of the Rates Waiver and wage supports was welcome- Government needed to give more certainty on how long these supports will be in place, as it is likely vulnerable sectors will need financial supports for much of this year.
Chambers Ireland requested clarity on how Government intends to ensure a sustainable reopening. Reducing, if not eradicating, community transmission will be essential for businesses to re-open safely. Ensuring the reopening is sustainable is another key challenge. Robust public-health measures must be in place to prevent the introduction of new strains of the virus. Without them we will undermine our progress in reducing transmission, which has come at such great sacrifice to so many, while also running the risk of undermining our own vaccine programme.
As we look ahead, Chambers Ireland focus will be on how we support town and city centres to reopen. Once local economies are re-opened, the focus then must be on how towns and cities can be supported to thrive in the recovery. Chambers Ireland are members of the Advisory Group on the Town Centre First Strategy, which sits under the Department of Housing and Local Government.