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Less than 1% of €300 million Brexit loan scheme allocated to SMEs – Maurice Quinlivan TD

26 July, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Maurice Quinlivan TD, today raised serious concerns about the effectiveness of the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme, as information he received shows that just 10 SMEs have secured funding under this initiative.

Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said;

“I am very concerned at the low uptake of Brexit business supports to date, and in particular I am worried by the extremely low number of loans provided under the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme.

“Information provided to me today in response to Parliamentary Question shows that only 10 SMEs have secured loans under the Brexit Loan Scheme. These loans total just €2.49 million, less than 1% of the total value of the €300 million scheme, a shockingly low figure.

“Since the Brexit Loan Scheme was launched back in March, just 151 applications have been received. With less than 7% of these actually obtaining funding, it indicates that this scheme is of little to no use to the vast majority of SMEs in Ireland.

“Unfortunately this is in line with the poor performance of other government backed Brexit business supports.

“The ‘Be Prepared Grant’ offers grants of up to €5,000 to SMEs to help them prepare an action plan for Brexit. But despite being launched 16 months ago, just 122 companies have availed of this assistance, accounting for just 2% of Enterprise Ireland’s client companies.

"The ‘Market Discovery Fund’ was launched back in January with the aim of encouraging companies to expand into new markets, but just 59 of these grants have been awarded to date.

“On paper these supports look great, but the reality is that businesses are not taking them up. I am calling on the Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys TD, to undertake an urgent review of these supports, to ensure businesses can actually benefit from them in order to prepare for Brexit.

“The Minister must examine whether excessive red tape or unreasonably strict criteria is preventing SMEs from accessing these supports, or whether the government is doing enough to raise awareness of the different loans and grants available.

“With the Brexit negotiations remaining in a state of chaos, and the possibility of a hard Brexit increasing, Irish SMEs exposed to the effects of Brexit need to avail  of these supports now, to ensure they are insulated as much as possible for all potential outcomes.”

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