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€1,000 'white-van man' grant to help sole traders 'get back on feet'

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Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys secured grant

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys secured grant

Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys secured grant

Sole traders and tradesmen affected by Covid-19 can claim a new €1,000 once-off grant for related expenses.

The funding, which has been dubbed the White Van Man Grant, will be available to self-employed workers and small business owners.

It is aimed at sole traders such as plumbers, electricians, carpenters and taxi drivers who are trying to return to work after the lockdown.

It is a new support for self- employed businesses that are not eligible for other Covid-19 grants. The money is available to business owners who employ fewer than 10 people, are not liable for commercial rates and have an annual turnover of less than €1m.

It will be paid on the basis of expenditure incurred by a business seeking to get back to work and cover all costs up to €1,000.

Equipment

The funding can be used to pay for salaries, fuel, new equipment, signage or personal protective equipment.

The Enterprise Support Grant previously provided support for entrepreneurs to set up new enterprises.

However, it has now been reconfigured to specifically provide one-off supports for self-employed people who have been severely impacted and have had to cease operations as a result of the pandemic.

The grant will be paid to anyone who was on the pandemic unemployment payment during the early stages of the Covid-19 emergency but is now returning to work.

Funding for the scheme was secured by Social Protection Minister Heather Humphreys during negotiations on the July Jobs Stimulus package.

It is among a range of government initiatives and funding aimed at getting people back to work after months of restrictions.

The self-employed and sole- trader sector was among the worst affected.

Ms Humphreys said the self-employed "are crucial to our national economic recovery" and added that the grant will help them "get back on their feet".

"Thousands of sole traders and small business owners right across the country have in recent months been in receipt of the Covid-19 Pandemic Unemployment Payment," Ms Humphreys said.

"For many, this was the first time they ever had to apply for state support.

"The PUP was a vital lifeline for people who, through no fault of their own, found themselves out of work.

Designed

"That's why I took the decision to extend the payment until April of next year.

"In the past, the Enterprise Support Grant was designed to assist people in opening a business.

"Today, I'm opening applications to people who need assistance in getting back on their feet and their businesses back up and running.

"Whether it's paying wages, fuel costs, purchasing PPE and signage, this is an important grant.

"So, if you're a plumber, carpenter or electrician who is transitioning back to work, or the taxi driver getting your car back on the road, this grant may be of interest."

The application process for the Enterprise Support Grant opens today and people can apply through welfare.ie