The level of State financial support for people starting their own business – critical to 5,040 people who did just that last year – has been reduced by two years.
“This is a genuine concern. The four-year allowance added a really big strength to the Start Your Own Business scheme,” said Louise Brogan of Donegal LDC.
Crucially, the Start Your Own Business course in Donegal, as elsewhere, allows participants to avail of the Back to Work Enterprise Allowance. This means newly self-employed people can retain their social welfare benefit in full for the first year and receive a 75% payment in their second year of running a new business.
For example, someone on Jobseekers Allowance gets €188 in the first year and €141 for the following 12 months. Secondary benefits such as medical card and fuel allowance are also permitted.
However, after two years, the allowance stops. Previously, it was spread out over four years.
“The scheme really works, it really turns people’s lives around and if people had another year or two to wean themselves off it would be better,” said Louise.