The financial cost of bailing out the economy from the impact of Covid-19 could top €15bn according this week’s Business Post. The figure comprises the cost of income supports for laid off workers as well as higher spending on the health service. Already some €2.3bn has been allocated to cover social welfare costs although this will be a fraction of the final figure when HSE spending and business and employee supports are included.
On page two, Aaron Rogan reports that three Irish life science companies who have developed rapid Covid-19 testing kits are expanding to meet demand.
All are all offering test kits for the virus which return results “within minutes”.
There is a nine-page section in this week’s paper devoted solely to the coronavirus crisis. Under the headline “Recusing the economy demands rapid, large-scale intervention” Ian Guider looks at what the government needs to do to prevent the economic impact of Covid-19 becoming permanent. He reports on the Irish government’s €3.1 billion package to fight the spread of the coronavirus amounts to almost €630 per person — making it four times bigger than Germany’s measures announced through March 9 and 30 times bigger than those of the US, according to calculations by Goodbody Stockbrokers. Also quoted is Danny McCoy, CEO of employers’ group Ibec, who wants a “corporate welfare” programme which would see the government guarantee 70% of the income of temporary laid-off workers for up to 20 weeks.
Another topic likely to feature heavily on this week’s agenda is insurance. Peter O’Dwyer reports that businesses are “staring down the barrel” because most insurance policies don’t pay out for losses arising from a pandemic. He concludes that the government may be forced to “step into the breach to share the burden”.
The phrase “helicopter money” is likely one you are going to hear more of as this crisis unfolds. The idea is that central banks give cash directly to the public and has been floated across the world as a way of alleviating the impact of Covid-19, has been. “People are talking about helicopter money because lowering interest rates has more or less run of steam,” former Central Bank of Ireland governor Patrick Holohan tells Barry J. Whyte.
On pages 14 and 15 there is a round-up of the impact that Covid-19 has had to date on Irish companies. C&C have said that the outbreak will have a “material impact” on its performance in the current financial year while building materials group Kingspan said it would no longer propose to pay shareholders a dividend. Meanwhile, both Ryanair and Aer Lingus have said that pay for staff would be cut by as much as 50%.
· Bank of Ireland has recorded a 200% increase in the number of business customers seeking payment deferrals
· The owners of George’s Street Arcade in Dublin will not seek rent arrears from tenants when it reopens
· Media industry body Newsbrands Ireland said media outlets should be given “essential service status”
· Credit ratings agency Fitch said Denis O’Brien’s Digicel could default on a $63m bond payment due in September