I propose to take Questions Nos. 273 to 276, inclusive, together.
In total my Department is contributing €25 million to the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme. This includes €11 million from the EU’s ‘exceptional adjustment aid for milk and other livestock farmers’ and €14 million in national funding. The Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) uses the €25 million to leverage the fund, i.e. the other €125 million is being provided by the banks themselves. SBCI are not providing funding, but along with the European Investment Fund’s COSME (the EU programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprises and SMEs) is providing the guarantee required to underpin the loan’s flexibility and lower the cost of the loans. The breakdown between the banks of the total €150 million available is:
- Bank of Ireland €65 million
- Allied Irish Bank €60 million
- Ulster Bank €25 million.
The participating banks will report to the SBCI on a regular basis although no returns have been made as yet and therefore no official figures are available on loan draw downs, number of participants or loan sizes. However very strong interest has been reported and both BOI and AIB have confirmed that they have applications up to the amounts available under the Scheme. There may be some residual availability but this will only emerge as the banks process the applications and the loans are drawn down.
The Scheme will operate until the 30th of September 2017, a deadline attached to the EU funding, or until the Scheme has been fully subscribed.