A new €250m grant scheme to help small and medium sized businesses with rising costs is set to be announced in today’s budget.
The one-off scheme will offer payments to firms based on a percentage of the amount they pay in commercial rates.
However, amounts will be capped, with the result that large firms will not be included.
The Government hopes that up to 130,000 businesses from across a range of sectors will be eligible for the payments.
A workaround used for pandemic supports to ensure businesses whose landlords pay their commercial rates do not miss out will be adopted again.
The aim of the scheme is to address calls from business groups for further assistance for members in dealing with rising costs, particularly energy and labour bills.
Businesses also claim that new Government measures already introduced or coming down the track are adding significantly to costs and eating into margin.
These include a 12% rise in the minimum wage to €12.70 which it is expected will also be confirmed in today’s budget.
Other initiatives that are adding to or will add to costs include the new mandatory sick pay rules, pension auto-enrolment, enhanced parental leave and likely increases in employer’s PRSI to fund future pension needs.
Despite speculation in the run up to the budget that those PRSI increases could be announced as part of today’s package, that is not now expected to happen amid concern in Government about the pressure it could put on businesses.
The budget is also set to include extra money for some of the state agencies involved in business development, such as IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.
A new measure to make it more attractive for investors to get involved in angel investing in startups is also expected.
Up to €140m is also set to be made available for regional enterprise development, using money secured from Europe.