About six in ten businesses surveyed by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association said they were availing of one of the government wage subsidy schemes.

It means that wage supports remain the largest liquidity solution availed of by firms.

ISME has been carrying out flash surveys of businesses on how they are coping with the pandemic.

In this - its eighth - survey, it found that 17% of respondents are availing of the government's Covid Restriction Support Scheme, CRSS.

That's up from 9% in April.

One in five said they were availing of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) as a self-employed person - up three percentage points from April.

The latest figures from the Department of Social Protection published yesterday showed that the number of people getting the PUP had fallen to its lowest since the onset of the pandemic here in March of last year.

Just over 202,000 people received the payment this week - down nearly 10,000 in a week.

The biggest reduction was in the Accommodation and Food services sector where numbers were down over 3,000.

An Oireachtas Committee yesterday recommended a doubling of the CRSS payment for tourism and hospitality businesses which it says is likely to stage a slow recovery over the months ahead.

It also recommended the VAT rate reduction to 9% tourism and hospitality be extended until 2025.

The rate was reduced from 13.5% for businesses in the sector as part of the response to the Covid-19 crisis. It was due to expire at the end of the year.

The Tourism Committee also called for an extension to the Local Authority waiver and the doubling of the COVID Restrictions Support Scheme.

Firms not resorting to bank debt

Encouragingly, the ISME survey found that around three quarters of businesses had yet to seek assistance from their banks.

The number of respondents who believe their business can operate for more than 9 months has increased to 68%, up 5 points from April.

The proportion who believe their businesses will cease operating remains steady at 1%, similar to January and April.

"It is significant that 11% of respondents report that all their staff remain laid off," Neil McDonnell, CEO of ISME said of the report's findings.

"The EWSS, Restart Grants, PUP and CRSS remain the most important business supports. Revenue forbearance is also a significant source of working capital," he added.