Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
The Government, my Department, our enterprise development agencies and regulatory bodies will continue to be ready for all Brexit scenarios. As announced by the Minister for Finance in Budget 2020, provisions are in place for the Brexit Contingency funding of €650 million, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. As there is no certainty yet on the timeline or likely impact of the United Kingdom withdrawal from the European Union the money will not be made available until it is required. This will be assessed at different stages over the coming months.
If there is a ‘No Deal’ €220 million will be made available immediately from Government. Of this, I will be making €110 million available to help vulnerable but viable businesses. Supports measures will include a €45 million Transition Fund, €42 million for a Rescue and Restructuring Fund, €8 million for a Transformation Fund for Food and Non-Food businesses, together with €5 million extra for Micro Finance Ireland, €5 million for a Local Enterprise Offices Emergency Brexit Fund and €2m extra for Intertrade Ireland. I will also provide €3m extra for Regulatory Bodies.
In addition, the Minister for Finance is providing €40 million in a 'No Deal' Scenario to support Tourism, if necessary. €110m will also be provided through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to support our beef sector and food companies. €410 million is also to be provided for the Live Register and Employment Supports.
We are continuing our engagement with business on preparing for Brexit. The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit. The LEOs also offer customs training workshops, and a number of other schemes to help businesses prepare for Brexit.
InterTradeIreland [ITI’s] Brexit Planning Voucher enables businesses to seek professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for Brexit. The ITI Brexit Implementation Voucher offers further financial support.
The Brexit Loan Scheme provides working capital, up to three years, to eligible businesses to help them innovate, change or adapt to mitigate their Brexit challenges. The Future Growth Loan Scheme provides a longer-term facility, 8-10 years, to support strategic investment for a post-Brexit environment. Loans of under €500,000 are provided on an unsecured basis to eligible Irish businesses, including those in the primary agriculture and seafood sectors.
Enterprise Ireland [EI] has established a Prepare for Brexit online portal and communications campaign, and a “Be Prepared Grant” to support SME clients in planning to mitigate risks arising from Brexit.
EI’s Customs Insights course helps businesses looking at customs for the first time to understand the key customs concepts, documentation and processes.
My Department and its agencies have put in place extensive supports, schemes and advisory resources to ensure that businesses nationwide are prepared for Brexit. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.
InterTradeIreland’s [ITI] Brexit Advisory Service provides a focal point for SMEs working to navigate any changes in cross-border trading relationships arising as a result of Brexit. As part of this service, ITI has organised a series of awareness-raising events. So far, more than 5,300 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service this year.
ITI’s Brexit Planning Voucher aims to enable businesses to seek professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for Brexit. This support helps businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, and regulatory and customs issues. Vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. To date, 2,064 applications have been submitted for the Voucher, 1,780 of which have been approved. The ITI Brexit Implementation Voucher offers further financial support to implement Brexit plans.
The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) have organised various events to enable companies to learn about the potential impacts and opportunities of Brexit. The LEOs also offer customs training workshops, and a number of other schemes to help businesses prepare for Brexit. To date, more than 1,200 LEO clients have received one-to-one mentoring solely focused on Brexit. The LEOs also offer customs training workshops. To date, there have been more than 1,500 training participants.
The Brexit Loan Scheme provides relatively short-term working capital, up to three years, to eligible businesses to mitigate their Brexit challenges. To date, there have been 898 eligibility applications received, of which 810 have been approved and 214 loans progressed to sanction to a value of €46.68 million.
The Future Growth Loan Scheme facilitates longer-term investment, for terms of 8-10 years, for a post-Brexit environment. To date, 535 firms have been approved loans by Bank of Ireland, KBC and Ulster Bank, to a total value of €101.2 million. AIB recently began offering loans under the scheme and have a pipeline of applications from SBCI.
While I am pleased to have seen a positive uptake of the range of Brexit supports available, I am also conscious that the lasting uncertainty around the Brexit process may be leading businesses to defer their Brexit preparations. The UK’s exit from the EU will bring change for Irish businesses and I want businesses, particularly those around the Border counties to know my Department and agencies are here to help.