Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Questions (29)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

29. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the measures he will put in place to support SMEs in the used car sales sector in the wake of the commencement of crippling post-Brexit tariffs; if he will help secure access to Brexit support funding for such enterprises; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6918/21]

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Written answers (Question to Enterprise)

My Department and its agencies have put a wide range of Brexit enterprise measures in place, covering potential Brexit impacts. Details of the enterprise measure approvals made as part of the COVID -19 and Brexit supports available are updated weekly on my Department’s website at https://enterprise.gov.ie/en/Publications/Business-Supports-2021.html.

My Department is providing a wide range of grants, loans and advisory services to affected businesses. This includes more and cheaper loan finance through MicroFinance Ireland and SBCI.

The Brexit Loan Scheme, launched in March of 2020 and operated by the SBCI, offers affordable working capital to eligible SMEs that are either currently impacted by Brexit or which will be in the future. Funding granted under the scheme must be used to innovate, change or adapt to meet the challenges posed by Brexit. The Brexit Loan Scheme makes lending available to eligible businesses with up to 499 employees that are exposed to current or future impacts arising as a result of Brexit. Loans range from €25,000 to €1.5 million, for terms of up to three years, at a maximum interest rate of 4%. Loans up to €500,000 available unsecured.

The Future Growth Loan Scheme has been expanded and now makes a total fund of up to €800 million available for terms of 7-10 years. This scheme is open to eligible Irish businesses, to support strategic, long-term investment, for future sustainability and growth. Loans range from €25,000 to €3 million and loans up to €500,000 available unsecured.

The Microfinance Ireland Brexit Business Loan provides up to €25,000 to businesses whose turnover has fallen (or is likely to fall) by 15% or more, or where a business has a short-term cashflow need as a result of Brexit. Loans range from six months to three years.

Enterprise Ireland’s Customs Insights online course is available to all SMEs and aims to give businesses a firm understanding of the key customs concepts, documentation and processes required to succeed post transition. The course advises on the key actions companies can take to prepare for customs after the transition period, and the resources available to support these actions. The Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) offer “Prepare Your Business for Customs” workshops which are open to all businesses, these workshops cover areas such as what export and import procedures apply, how tariffs work and how to correctly classify goods.

InterTradeIreland’s (ITI) Brexit Advisory Service offers a focal point for businesses working to navigate changes in cross-border trading relationships as a result of Brexit. ITI has run a series of awareness-raising events to help improve knowledge of customs processes and procedures. These events also identify actions businesses can take in areas like logistics and supply chain management. Their Brexit Planning Voucher enables eligible businesses to seek professional advice on how best to plan and prepare for Brexit. This helps businesses get advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, and regulatory and customs issues.

Further information and advice on Brexit including information on new trading rules, supply chain, transport and logistics, the UK landbridge, staffing, contracts and data protection and be found here: gov.ie/brexit.

My officials have worked with other relevant Departments to identify the type and number of businesses that fall outside the scope of the CRSS. I am pleased the Government agreed to establish a new COVID Business Aid Scheme (CBAS) to help those not eligible for CRSS or Fáilte Ireland schemes, which we announced on 9th February. The new CBAS will provide funding of up to €8,000 for those businesses that are in receipt of a rates bill from their local authority.

Government will continue to address suitable enterprise measures in the context of the evolving Brexit challenges to our economy and our people.

My colleague, Eamon Ryan, TD, Minister for Transport, may be of further assistance in these matters. The Brexit Unit within the Department of Transport seeks to ensure a coordinated approach to Brexit across all of the Department’s policy areas and is working to ensure that any impacts to sectors are minimised. The department is represented on all relevant cross-departmental co-ordination structures and an internal Departmental Committee on Brexit meets regularly. The department is also working closely with agencies and key stakeholders. Advice and information on Brexit and transport is set out on that Department’s website at: gov.ie - Department of Transport (www.gov.ie)