As outlined in the Budget last week, the Government is putting in place an additional contingency package of over €1billion for Brexit supports for the coming year. This contingency will ensure that an initial provision of €110m will be available to my Department and our Enterprise and Regulatory Agencies to provide targeted supports to impacted businesses in the immediate aftermath should there be a no deal Brexit outcome. The provision will also allow for additional tranches of supports to be provided to meet actual needs as the impacts of a No Deal develop.
My Department has responsibility for provision of a number of supports in this regard, including the following:
Rescue and Restructuring Fund – €42 million
This fund is for the worst-case scenario. It will rescue firms with acute liquidity or insolvency problems and support them to put a restructuring plan in place to adjust to their new reality with investment support potentially of up to €10m under state aid rules for firms of all sizes depending on circumstances.
Transition Fund – €45 million
This Fund will support businesses in the manufacturing and internationally traded services sector, ranging from food and engineering firms to business process outsourcing firms. It will help those businesses to adapt their business model as needed and adjust to the new trading reality. It is targeted at businesses with 10 or more employees.
Transformation Fund - €8 million
This Fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland. It will be provided as non-refundable grants supporting larger indigenous firms to transform their business to develop new products and processes, to achieve a step-up in levels of competitiveness and innovation and to assist in diversifying to new markets. There will be initial funding of €5 million for primary food processing companies and €3 million for non-food companies, for example, in traditional engineering sectors. Additional funding for food transformation is also being made available through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.
Emergency Brexit Fund for Micro Enterprises - LEO repayable grants – €5 million
The LEOs will operate a new “Micro-Enterprise Emergency Brexit Fund”.
The funding will be provided in the form of a repayable grant worth up to €50,000 through the LEOs, without interest applying and flexible repayment terms determined by agreement with the LEO, which is how the LEOs currently provide grants.
It is important to reiterate that these supports are designed to mitigate the negative impacts of a No Deal Brexit and will only be activated if no agreement is reached between the United Kingdom and the European Union.
In addition to the supports listed above, in the event of a No Deal Brexit it is envisioned that €45 million will be provided to the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The breakdown of the composition of each measure to be activated under the fund is a matter for my colleague the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection.