Creed gives update on long-term loan scheme

Details on the anticipated Long-term Investment Loan Scheme in response to Brexit have been revealed by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed, with formal approval for the scheme expected in early October.

Speaking at the official launch of the ‘Getting Ireland Brexit Ready’ campaign, the minister explained the process for developing the scheme.

“Significant progress has been made in the development of a ‘Long-term Investment Loan Scheme’ for Irish SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), including farmers,” Minister Creed said.

The scheme

He continued: “This scheme has been developed by the Department of Agriculture in cooperation with: the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation; the Department of Finance; the European Investment Fund (EIF); and the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland.

“By its nature, the detail of this scheme has taken time to develop and negotiate between all the parties involved.

“This loan scheme will be of particular benefit to the Irish agri-food sector, including: farmers; the seafood sector; and agri-food businesses, to enable them to invest in their businesses and to innovate for future growth. This is a key Brexit response.

The scheme will be available early in 2019 and will bring longer-term – eight-to-10 year – unsecured investment finance to the Irish market.

The interest rate for these loans will be typically less than 5%, the minister said.

This type of product (long-term, unsecured investment finance) is not currently available for many farmers, food businesses and the seafood sector.

This has been identified as a critical need, Minister Creed said.

The loan scheme will be of particular benefit to young and new-entrant farmers, and smaller-scale farmers, who typically have less bargaining power with their banking institution, the minister noted.

“Legal agreement is close to being finalised and the EIF has indicated that it expects formal board approval of the scheme on October 8,” Minister Creed said.