Low uptake of Brexit business supports “very concerning” – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today expressed his concern at the low level of uptake of Brexit business supports, and questioned whether enough is being done by this government to help businesses prepare for Brexit.
Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said;
“I am very concerned at the low uptake of Brexit business supports to date. Information provided to me in response to Parliamentary Questions show that only a small number of SMEs have so far availed of grants put in place by the government.
"The ‘Market Discovery Fund’ was launched back in January with the aim of encouraging companies to expand into new markets, but just 33 of these grants have been awarded to date.
“These are very poor uptake figures and something that needs to be addressed immediately. InterTradeIreland’s latest Quarterly Business Monitor survey recorded 92% of cross-border traders not having a Brexit plan in place yet. This is simply not good enough at this stage.
“No data is available relating to the €300 million Brexit loan scheme, while 277 ‘Brexit Start Planning Vouchers’ have been issued by InterTradeIreland.
“The ‘Be Prepared Grant’ was launched by Enterprise Ireland in March 2017, and offers grants of up to €5,000 to SMEs to help them prepare an action plan for Brexit. But despite being launched 15 months ago, just 110 companies have availed of this assistance, accounting for just 2% of Enterprise Ireland’s client companies.
“Minister Humphreys needs to examine whether red tape or unreasonably strict criteria is preventing SMEs from applying for these state supports, or whether the government is doing enough to raise awareness of these Brexit grants.
“Unfortunately due to the state of the Brexit negotiations, a hard Brexit looks more likely now than ever, so the Minister must ensure that Irish SMEs are in the best possible position to deal with such a scenario.”