Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
108. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if his Department has made an impact assessment on the business community from credit rating downgrades during the Covid-19 lockdown; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30164/21]
The mobilisation of large fiscal support to limit the economic disruption from the pandemic has resulted in an increase in public indebtedness. At end-2020, Ireland’s outstanding general government gross debt stood at €218.2 billion, an increase from €204 billion in 2019.
This is expected to increase further in 2021 to €239bn or 62% of GDP and Ireland is not unique in providing fiscal support throughout the pandemic and debt levels have increased across all advanced economies.
While Ireland's debt levels have increased, the long-term sovereign debt credit ratings has not been downgraded since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak by any of the three main ratings agencies. Ireland has retained its AA-rating with Standard & Poor’s, A+ with Fitch and A2 with Moody’s, with all three agencies reporting a stable outlook for Irish debt.
The economy is re-opening up in clear phases and the Government will continue to provide financial assistance and guidance for businesses through the recovery phase and beyond. These measures are outlined within the recently published National Economic Recovery Plan.
Specifically, for businesses seeking credit in the current environment a number of schemes have been put in place to help them. These include the €2 billion COVID-19 Credit Guarantee Scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme, the Covid-19 Business Loans through Microfinance Ireland, the SBCI Covid-19 Working Capital Scheme, Sustaining Enterprise Fund and the Covid-19 Business Financial Planning Grant.