Public Policy Bulletin, 5 March February 2021

Mar 05, 2021


In this week’s Public Policy news, read about a €20 million grant scheme to help European SMEs protect and develop their IP; a report showing a substantial increase in the number of Irish companies reporting their carbon emissions; the publication of the Economy Recovery Action Plan for Northern Ireland and the UK Budget for a strong recovery and greener economy.

€20 million grant scheme for IP protection and development

Irish SMEs now can access a grant fund of €20 million to protect and develop their intellectual property rights.

The Ideas Powered for Business SME scheme, which commenced on 1 March 2021, was created to help European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) protect their intellectual property rights at national, regional or EU level.

Under the scheme SMEs are entitled to 50 percent off the basic trademark and design application fees.

The scheme is operated by the EUIPO in conjunction with the national IP Offices including the Intellectual Property Office of Ireland.

“A three-way environmental crisis” – Minister Ryan describes challenges facing Irish businesses

Successful achievement of our climate goals will need coordination between government and individual companies, according to Gavin Whitaker, a director with Clearstream Solutions, who this week hosted the launch of the CDP Ireland Annual Report 2020 along with colleague Brian O’Kennedy in Clearstream Solutions.

The report showed that there has been a 52 percent increase in Irish companies – giving a total of 47 companies – reporting their carbon emissions over the past year. This increase is in part due to investor scrutiny, customer competitive focus and EU regulation according to  Brian O’Kennedy, who commented that climate change “is now an integral part of the annual reporting cycle of many Irish companies”.

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is an international, not-for-profit organisation that measures the environmental impact of companies. Companies looking to improve their performance in CDP rankings set targets to reduce emissions, and also manage their impact on water and forestry through science-based targets (SBTi). The CDP Ireland Network represents the CDP’s interests in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch of the CDP Ireland Annual Report 2020, Minister for Transport, Eamon Ryan, TD, described the challenges facing Ireland in the next decade as a ‘three-way environmental crisis’, involving not just climate, but also the loss of biodiversity, and increased levels of pollution. Minister Ryan pointed to the responsibility of the business sector to reduce its CO2 emissions from 8 million to 4 million tonnes in the next 10 years in order to meet both national and EU targets. Minister Ryan advised businesses to plan for how they will have their emissions within the next 5-10 years, as well as planning to become part of the circular economy.

“Once again open for business.” Minister Dodds publishes Northern Ireland’ Economy Recovery Action Plan

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched the Economy Recovery Action Plan for rebuilding Northern Ireland’s economy from the impact of COVID-19. Describing the Action Plan as “the blueprint to rebuild a stronger economy in Northern Ireland”, Minister Dodds announced that it would focus on where the greatest opportunity is to drive innovation and develop the skills and capability of the workforce to secure better jobs. Drivers to recovery identified in the report are:  

  • supporting a highly-skilled workforce
  • stimulating research and development
  • building a greener economy and
  • promoting investment, trade and exports.

Actions the Department plans to take to stimulate growth include the development of a flexible skills fund, widening access to apprenticeships, and developing a green innovation challenge fund.

The Economic Recovery Action Plan can be found on the Department for the Economy website.

“A strong recovery and greener economy”

UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, presented his Budget to the UK Parliament this week. Describing the Budget, Chancellor Sunak said that it “lays the foundations for a strong recovery and greener economy, levelling up the country and spreading prosperity across every part of the UK.” Among the measures mentioned under ‘investment-led recovery’ was the planned issue by the UK of at least £15 billion in green bonds to help finance the transition to net zero and the UK government’s planned launch the world’s first sovereign green savings bond for retail investors. These will contribute to the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan for a green industrial revolution.

You can read more about the UK Budget in our Tax News UK Budget 2021 Special.

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