Robert Troy, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation.

Budget 2022 will accelerate recovery - Troy

Budget 2022 provide further assistance and certainty for our businesses and will greatly assist and accelerate our recovery – Minister Robert Troy, Minister of State for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation

by Minister Robert Troy

Budget 2022 comes at a crucial time for our country as we continue our recovery from the widespread disruption of Covid. I believe that the measures contained in this budget will provide further assistance and certainty for our businesses and will greatly assist and accelerate our recovery.

To ensure business are supported as we transition into a post-pandemic landscape, the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) has been extended until April 2022 to help struggling businesses retain staff. A targeted commercial rates waiver will continue in Q4 2021, for business that are not yet fully open, and extra funding for the Covid Credit Guarantee Scheme has also been secured, providing low-cost loans for businesses negatively affected by Covid.

As well as the twin challenges of Brexit and Covid, our business sector also faces the challenges of climate change and digitalisation. The new €10m Green Transition Fund will help businesses to take action to drive down their emissions and to introduce greater sustainability in how they work.

In addition, the new €10 million Digital Transition Fund will drive the digitalisation of all businesses and in particular SMEs. The fund will support enterprises in the adoption of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, data analytics and cloud computing. It will bring about productivity gains, access to new markets, increased innovation and improved competitiveness.

Digitalisation will be further boosted by the allocation of €3 million to the European Digital Innovation Hubs in 2022. These hubs will play an important role in facilitating the digitalisation of Irish SMEs by offering financial advice and providing training and skills development.

The new €90 million Innovation Equity Fund will give a huge boost to start-ups and will greatly enhance their ability to leverage funding from private sources. My department will provide €30 million of this fund from savings with another €30 million each coming from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and the European Innovation Fund. This funding will mean that these innovative start-ups can remain in Ireland while developing their businesses.

Another boost for our thriving start-up sector is the announcement of a further €35 million for the Disruptive Technology Innovation Fund. This funding will enable a new call for innovative projects in 2022.

The regions will also benefit as a result of the additional €5 million allocated to the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. With work progressing on the new Enterprise Plans for the regions, this extra funding will support the ongoing collaborative and innovative regional initiatives which are driving job creation. However, this is only the start – before the end of year we will be launching the new Regional Enterprise Plans to 2024, underpinned by the National Development Plan.

An additional allocation of €2 million for the Local Enterprise Offices will enable them to provide training and supports to SMEs in meeting the challenges they face, not least from climate change and digitalisation.

The €12 million budget increase in current funding will allow for additional resources to be provided to the department’s regulatory bodies. The increase will allow for ongoing recruitment of additional staffing and other resources for the Workplace Relations Commission, and Health and Safety Authority. It will also enable the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission to carry out its enhanced enforcement role following the enactment of the Competition (Amendment) Bill. The funding will also assist the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement and its transformation into a statutory and independent agency.

Budget 2022 provides critical support for business that are on the first steps to recovery, but it also provides for businesses which are growing and expanding. It confronts the challenges of climate change and digitalisation while supporting job creation. Budget 2022 will ensure that we can continue our recent progress in bringing about further economic growth and stability.