With regard to the urgency of the measure in question, the proposal is to increase the borrowing limit of the ACC from £600 million to £800 million. It is not an increase, per se, in the capital of the ACC. It allows the ACC to borrow up to £800 million rather than the current limit of £600 million and it increases correspondingly the amount of borrowing carried out by the ACC which was guaranteed by the Minister for Finance. It extends the security currently afforded to those who lend to the ACC pari passu with the increase in the corporation's borrowing requirement.
The ACC are encountering some difficulties at present with regard to the management of the maturity of their deposits because they are getting near the upper limit of what they may borrow. This difficulty is also affecting their lending activities and the purpose of the Bill is to ensure that we do not have those difficulties in relation to the lending activities of the ACC at present because we do not want to see an unnecessary outside restriction of this kind put on the ACC's ability to finance farm credit and development in the agricultural sector. It is for that reason that the limits are being raised in this manner. It is necessary to do this now because the corporation are getting near to the limit and if we do not raise it as proposed in the Bill we could soon find ourselves in the situation where the lending activities of the corporation would have to be restricted to deal with the difficulties I have mentioned.