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Enterprise; Trade and Employment | Energy increases expected impact on retail

To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the measures that may be taken to assist the retail sector that is currently seriously affected by increased energy and insurance charges which leave many in a precarious trading position; if it is expected that any such measures will be introduced at an early date; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

As Chair of the Retail Forum, I am really conscious that many retail businesses in Ireland are worried as we face into a winter of uncertainty with rapidly rising costs, especially with increases in energy and insurance.

Unfortunately, energy supply is being used as a weapon of war, and it is having a major impact for families, businesses and workers across the country.

Government have already put in place some measures to help, and we are looking at how we can further assist businesses with their costs as part of the Budgetary process.

For example, retailers can complete the Climatetoolkit4business, available on my Department’s website, to assess their carbon emissions and identify what supports they are eligible for. A full list of Government grants including SEAI’s Energy Audit for SME, SEAI’s Accelerated Capital Allowance andthe LEO’s Green for Micro programme,in addition to vouchers and training available can be accessed on my Department’s website.

I think it is fair to say that this Government has responded to the needs of retailers when it came to helping them and their workers get through the difficult periods of Covid and Brexit.

And we will continue to work with the retail community in advance of the Budget on measures that will help alleviate the unprecedented rise in operating costs, especially with energy prices, they face in the coming Winter months and into 2023.

We will monitor the situation very closely and will make sure that any taxpayers money is used to support businesses that are viable but vulnerable.

With regard to insurance, the Tánaiste chaired a meeting of the Subgroup on Insurance Reform in July 2022 to consider progress on implementation of the Action Plan for Insurance Reform. Approximately 80% of actions in the Plan are now being delivered. While progress on these actions is welcome, Government is committed to doing more to reduce insurance costs.

The Tánaiste is confident that through the implementation of the actions set out in the Action Plan we are delivering meaningful reform of the insurance market and creating the conditions for the provision of affordable insurance for consumers and business.

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