€300 million Brexit Loan Scheme: How much has been sanctioned?

As of last Friday (February 22), a total of 462 eligibility applications have been received for the €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme, according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Minister Creed was responding to a parliamentary question on the multi-department initiative from independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath.

According to the minister, of the 462 eligibility applications received, some 413 have been approved with 10 ineligible.

The total number of loans progressed to sanction at bank level is 81 with a total value of €17.3 million, 13 of which relate to food businesses with a value of €4.2 million.

The €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme was developed “to provide working capital support to enable eligible Irish businesses (SMEs and small mid-caps) to implement the necessary changes to address the challenges posed by Brexit”, Minister Creed outlined.

“Given its significant exposure to the UK market, at least 40% of the fund is available to food businesses. The scheme opened for applications on March 28, 2018, and it will remain open until March 31, 2020.

“It provides for loans of €25,000 to €1.5 million per eligible enterprise at a maximum interest rate of 4%, ranging from one year to three years, with unsecured loans up to €500,000.”

TD response

Responding to Minister Creed’s comments on the matter, deputy McGrath said that consideration needs to be given to extending the application period beyond the proposed March 2020 deadline.

Commenting on the 413 eligible applications, the TD noted the total number of loans progressed to sanction at bank level is “a paltry 81 with a total value of €17.3 million”.

This would suggest that there is considerable work to be done in terms of escalating the actual delivery of the loans. Loan approvals in and of themselves will not keep a farm or agri-business going.

“In fact there is a very real danger that the department or Government will end up emphasising the approval level while obscuring the actual delivery of the loans,” deputy McGrath said.