Thursday, 18 February 2021
Covid-19 (Enterprise, Trade and Employment): Statements
Leo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
As the Deputy states, the future growth loan scheme is working very well. It is long-term money but it is for a particular purpose where companies want to and can expand, so they would already be doing quite well. The microfinance loan for very small businesses is also going very well. The credit guarantee scheme was not doing so well but there has been a big pick-up in the past month or two. I will come back to the Deputy in writing with some of the data on availability but last week we allocated more capital to the future growth loan scheme. That may free more lending. I will write to the Deputy with the correct detail.
I should leave it to the Minister for Finance to update the Opposition on Ulster Bank and I will ensure the briefing occurs as soon as possible. As I indicated to the Deputy last week, the Central Bank has been active on the question of business interruption insurance for a long time and it assessed 250 policies, approximately half of which do not cover Covid-19. Half of the remaining policies cover it if the interruption is caused by the virus on the premises and the remaining policies cover it if the virus is in the vicinity. From speaking with people in business, I know they want the valid policies to be honoured now and for money to be paid. They are not looking forward to years of litigation or a prolonged examination by the Central Bank. They want the policies honoured and paid, and that is what I want too. I will meet representatives of the Central Bank in the next couple of weeks to see what more they can do to make that happen. I will take up the Deputy's suggestion with them as it is a good one.