Written answers

Thursday, 4 July 2024

Department of Finance

Business Supports

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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246. To ask the Minister for Finance the extent to which working capital continues to be made available to the farming and business sectors, with particular reference to smaller enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29075/24]

Photo of Jack ChambersJack Chambers (Dublin West, Fianna Fail)
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Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a significant role in the Irish economy. As such, the Government has in place a broad range of policy measures aimed at supporting SMEs to thrive. Most recently, in May 2024 Government agreed a package of actions intended to reduce costs for SMEs. More details can be found on the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment's website here: .

These supplement the supports to SMEs currently in place. Here I will highlight two related to my own Department, which were introduced to assist SMEs and farmers with access to credit.

The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland currently has two schemes open for applications from SMEs and farmer: the Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme and the Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme. These aim to facilitate access to credit at competitive prices in these areas important to SMEs and Government, namely challenges arising from invasion of Ukraine by Russia, growing businesses and investing in sustainability. Both were developed in conjunction with the Departments of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, and Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Ukraine Credit Guarantee Scheme opened for applications on 20 March 2023. This scheme provides a lending capacity of €1.2 billion, offering low cost working capital to SMEs, primary producers (i.e. farmers and fishers) and small mid-caps (businesses with fewer than 500 employees), which have been affected by the economic consequences of the conflict in Ukraine. Loans under this scheme can range from €10,000 to €1 million, repayable over a maximum of six years. Furthermore, loans of up to €250,000 do not require collateral or a personal guarantee.

The €500 million Growth and Sustainability Loan Scheme was launched on 19 September 2023. This scheme is targeted towards the support of SMEs and farmers to grow their businesses, increase their resilience and enable them to transition to environmentally sustainable practices and systems. It provides for loans to SMEs, including primary producers, ranging from €25,000 to €3 million, for terms of 7 to 10 years. Loans of up to €500,000 can be provided on an unsecured basis.

As the Deputy will be aware, as Minister for Finance I have no role in the commercial decisions taken by individual banks and lenders. The Credit Review Office (www.creditreview.ie/) provides a review and appeals process for business owners. Further, my Department monitors the availability of credit to SMEs and farmers. The most recent Credit Demand Survey published by my Department can be found here: .


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