Scheme to support businesses with rising energy costs looks set to be extended to businesses such as GPs, solicitors and dentists
Posted on 13th October 2022 at 21:34
Groups such as the Irish Dental Association and Chartered Accountants Ireland have argued that without supports their increased costs would most likely have to be passed on to patients and clients
A scheme to support businesses with rising energy costs looks set to be extended to professional businesses, such as GPs, solicitors and dentists following discussions between Ministers. The intervention follows criticism from groups, including GPs and dentists, that they had been left out of the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS) which was announced as part of Budget 2023 to help businesses with rising gas and electricity costs.
On budget day the Government said the scheme was open only to case 1 tax trading businesses, such as hotels, shops and restaurants, and was not available to case 2 businesses providing professional services.
On Thursday evening, however, a spokesman for Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar said: “The Tánaiste raised this issue with Minister [for Finance, Paschal] Donohoe and has received confirmation that it’s possible to bring case 2 (professions and vocations) into scope. Expanding the scope of the scheme will impact on the overall cost of the support. The details of TBESS will be confirmed in the Finance Bill.”
Asked whether more specific costings had been done, he said details were not yet finalised. Initial costs for the scheme, when open to so-called “trading” businesses only, was €1.25 billion.
Under the existing plan the scheme aims to cover up to 40 per cent of increases in businesses’ heating and power bills, up to €10,000 a month. Eligible businesses will have to be able to show they have seen a 50 per cent or more increase in their average energy unit price this year compared with the same period in 2021. The scheme is to run until at least February 2023, with payments backdated to September when it was introduced.
Groups such as the Irish Dental Association and Chartered Accountants Ireland had lobbied for the scheme to be extended to their members, arguing without supports their increased costs would most likely have to be passed on to patients and clients.
Mr Donohoe said, when announcing the scheme in September, it was being designed to be compliant with the EU State Aid Temporary Crisis Framework (TFC), and would need to be approved by the EU Commission in advance of making payments. “This is a significant intervention by the Government in the Irish economy to protect employment. This support scheme forms a large part of our once-off package. We must weaken the ability of a shock to income becoming a loss of jobs. This new policy will help employers with their rising bills, and help to save their businesses.”
Since its adoption in March the EU’s TFC has enabled member states to implement schemes to support businesses affected by rising costs caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine beyond levels that would have been permitted before then.
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