Written answers

Thursday, 17 December 2020

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Covid-19 Pandemic Supports

Christopher O'Sullivan (Cork South West, Fianna Fail)
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130. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the number of businesses in County Cork that have availed of the Covid-19 credit guarantee scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43792/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme (CCGS) is the largest guarantee scheme in the history of the State. Its function is to add certainty to businesses that liquidity is available for working capital and investment purposes. Loans of up to €1 million are available for up to five and a half years. Loans under €250,000 do not require collateral or personal guarantees.

The Scheme was originally scheduled to run until 31 December 2020 in line with the requirements of the European Commission’s Temporary Framework on State Aid. Following the extension of the terms of this Framework Government approved, on 24 November, the extension of the COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme to run until 30 June 2021. It is available to SMEs, small Mid-Caps and primary producers.

As part of the Commission’s State Aid Temporary Framework, each loan under the Scheme must have reduced interest rates. These are clearly articulated in the documentation businesses sign with their finance providers.

The Government will cover 80 percent of any claims under the scheme. As per State Aid rules set by the European Commission, a premium must be paid to the Irish state which will alleviate some of the costs.

The CCGS has a draw down rate of on average €8 million per week. This is close to guaranteeing in a week what was guaranteed in the full year of 2018 in the standard CGS. The sectors utilising the scheme most prominently are wholesale/retail at 20 percent, accommodation/food services at 14 percent, agriculture at 11 percent and construction at 9 percent. This demonstrates the strong need and utilisation of the CCGS by businesses most affected by COVID 19.

As at 3 December, 172 businesses in County Cork have availed of the CCGS and have drawn loans with a value of €7,929,314.

The CCGS which is currently available through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank will see a number of new lenders joining the Scheme early in the new year offering new product-lines. These new lenders will ensure increased regional availability of finance through the CCGS.

I want to assure the Deputy that I and my officials are constantly reviewing the Scheme and its effectiveness. I would also direct the Deputy to my Department’s website which has the details of this scheme as well as other relevant loan and grant supports available to Irish businesses.

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