The EU approves a €1.2 billion temporary energy scheme for businesses

The EU approved the government’s €1.2 billion temporary energy support scheme for businesses, opening the door to payments in December.

Treasury Secretary Pachal Donohoe had promised to apply for the program later this month and have money in the companies’ accounts before Christmas.

The subsidy scheme announced in the budget is “necessary, appropriate and proportionate in order to remedy a serious disruption to the economy,” the EU Commission said in a statement.

The scheme can go ahead, the commission said, provided it ends in March next year, although a statement said it “can be extended to no later than April 30, 2023”.

“This €1.22 billion scheme approved today will allow Ireland to support affected sectors and companies, particularly the smaller ones, by ensuring they have adequate liquidity at their disposal,” said the Commission Vice-President and competition chief Margaret Vestager.

The Commission temporarily relaxed its state aid rules to allow governments to help companies facing rising energy costs as a result of the Russian war in Ukraine.

Businesses are eligible for the program if their average unit cost of electricity or gas increased by 50 percent (or more) between September and December this year compared to the same period in 2021.

However, retail group RGDATA has called for the program to be backdated to March 2022, telling an Oireachtas committee last week that 1,000 stores will have to close, resulting in the loss of 30,000 jobs if costs continue to rise.

Handouts under the program cover 40 percent of cost increases but are capped at €10,000 per company per month. Separate firms or premises owned by the same company may have separate claims. The EU approves a €1.2 billion temporary energy scheme for businesses

Fry Electronics Team

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