Public Policy Bulletin, 27 October 2020

Oct 27, 2020


In Public Policy news, read about the findings of a new report on the current and future skills needs of the Irish economy; and the new Localised Restriction Support Scheme available to businesses in Northern Ireland that have been forced to close due to health protection reasons.  

Management skills essential to survival for SMEs and the economy

A new report published by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) on SME Management Skills has revealed that 88 percent of Irish SMEs identify ‘developing management skills’ as an important strategic priority, but 49 percent of them have no formal budget to develop management and leadership.

The report, entitled Leading the Way, stresses that management skills are essential to business productivity, resilience and survival. It recommends that management-development must be a strategic priority for all SMEs in Ireland, accounting as they do for almost 70 per cent of total employment in the Irish business economy. EGFSN advise the government on current and future skills needs of the economy and their impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth.

Minster for Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. has encouraged all SME managers to make management development a priority for 2021 and to take note of the resources, opportunities and supports available (many of them partly funded by the State):

“This is not a time to pull back on investment in management training.  It is a time for SME managers to renew their commitment to world-class management skills and practices.”

Echoing these sentiments, Minister of State of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, T.D., added that investment in management development is a commitment to the future. “The challenges facing the business sector right now make world-class management skills even more of an imperative for Irish SMEs”, the Minister stated, and he advised SMEs to contact their local LEO, Skillnet Ireland or representative organisation for advice.

New Covid-19 support for business in Northern Ireland

A new support has been made available for businesses in Northern Ireland forced to close due to health protection restrictions. Cafes pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, beauty salons, campsites, museums are just some of the businesses that may be eligible for the new scheme.

Within its first week, the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme received approximately 7,500 applications. Under the scheme, businesses operating within a commercial property will receive the following amounts  (based on the total Net Annual Value of the property from which the business operates) for every week the restrictions apply: 

  • Lower rate (up to £15,000 Net Annual Value) – £800
  • Standard rate (£15,001 - £51,000 Net Annual Value) – £1,200
  • Higher rate (over £51,000 Net Annual Value) – £1,600

For those businesses that do not qualify for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, they may qualify for the new Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme which will open shortly. More details can be found at this link.  

More details, including eligibility, how to apply and amounts available, are detailed under Loans and Grants on the Chartered Accountants Ireland Government Supports - NI page here.


Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.