Wednesday, 18 December 2019

Ceisteanna (222)

Lisa Chambers

Ceist:

222. Deputy Lisa Chambers asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the uptake of Brexit-related supports under the remit of her Department, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [53462/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Business)

Since the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union, my Department and its agencies have worked to put in place a wide range of Brexit supports for businesses. My Department's focus is on helping firms to improve their competitiveness and innovation, and to diversify markets.

The suite of enterprise and finance supports now in place covers the spectrum of potential Brexit impacts and aims to assist businesses in identifying key risk areas and the practical preparatory actions to be taken over the coming months.  

Since 2016, my Department and its agencies have worked to prepare Irish businesses for the potential challenges posed by Brexit by helping them to assess their preparedness and helping them to implement practical action plans in areas such as customs, supply chain and sourcing, and financial management. While we cannot yet know the form that Brexit will take, these measures aim to assist businesses in identifying and managing key risk areas and develop practical preparatory actions regardless of the circumstances of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.  

The Government’s suite of Brexit supports includes preparedness vouchers, consultancy and mentoring supports, tariff advisory services, research on new markets and innovation supports through Enterprise Ireland, the Local Enterprise Offices and InterTradeIreland. Supports and advice are also available from the National Standards Authority of Ireland, the Health and Safety Authority, IDA Ireland, Revenue, Skillnet Ireland, the Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland, Bord Bia and Fáilte Ireland.

The most immediate consequences of a hard Brexit are likely to be currency movements, supply chain constraints, delays, duties and tariffs. In the first instance, there will be a strain on the working capital position of businesses.

Of my Department's suite of supports, the €300m Brexit Loan Scheme is designed to address working capital challenges brought about by Brexit. Under the Scheme, loans of up to €1.5 million are available at a rate of 4% or less, with loans of up to €500,000 available on an unsecured basis. By contrast, the €300m Future Growth Loan Scheme is designed to support strategic long-term investment in a post-Brexit environment.

InterTradeIreland also plays a major role as part of Ireland’s Brexit response and offers Brexit-related advisory services to eligible businesses. So far this year, more than 5,000 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service.

ITI offers Brexit Planning Voucher and Brexit Implementation Voucher schemes, which enable businesses to get professional advice on how best to plan, prepare and implement for the UK's withdrawal from the European Union. These supports help businesses obtain advice on specific areas such as tariffs, currency management, regulatory and customs issues and movement of labour, goods and services.

ITI Brexit Planning Vouchers are worth up to €2,250 (inclusive of VAT) each. ITI’s Brexit Implementation Voucher provides financial support up to £5,000/€5,625 (inclusive of VAT), with InterTradeIreland paying 50%. This allows businesses to implement critical changes making them better prepared to deal with a new trading relationship.  

In August, ITI launched a new advertising campaign and a new online resource to encourage and assist firms in preparing for Brexit. The online “Bitesize Brexit” resource is a one-stop-shop for cross-border traders, presenting information in easily digestible segments and includes specific actions businesses should take in preparing for Brexit.  

Enterprise Ireland also recently launched 12 ‘Brexit Essential’ questions aimed at helping exporting businesses further prepare and take action ahead of the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU.

My Department, in association with the Department of Education and Skills and key industry partners, has also launched a new support measure to help customs agents, intermediaries and affected Irish businesses develop the capacity to deal with the additional customs requirements due to the UK’s departure from the EU. The new initiative, called Clear Customs, comprises a training programme and a customs financial support to assist with the costs of recruiting and assigning new staff to customs roles.  

In addition, the Government has held over 100 Brexit information seminars and events since last September. I also have been convening regular roundtable discussions with the main retail grocery and distribution players since December of last year to better understand contingency planning within the sector on food supply. Revenue, the Food Safety Authority of Ireland, Dublin Port and relevant Government Departments also attend these meetings.  

With the deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the EU having now shifted to 31 January, and with the general election now behind us, Brexit continues to represent a significant challenge for businesses in Ireland. I want businesses, particularly those most impacted by Brexit, to know my Department and its agencies are here to help.

Scheme  

Uptake at 6 December 2019 unless otherwise specified  

Brexit Loan Scheme

919 applications for eligibility received, 828 approved by SBCI, 219 loans progressed to sanction at bank level to a value of €47.5 million.

Of the approved applications to date, 160 were reapplications as eligibility expires after six months.

Data as of the 12th December 2019

Future Growth Loan Scheme

2,506 applications for eligibility received, 2,350 approved by SBCI, 650 loans progressed to sanction at bank level. Total value of loans sanctioned was €124 million.

Data as of the 12th December 2019

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Scorecard - online platform for Irish companies to self-assess their exposure to Brexit

6,975 Brexit Scorecards have been completed. 1,768 LEO clients have completed the scorecard.

Enterprise Ireland Be Prepared Grant

236 Be Prepared Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Market Discovery Fund - A support to EI clients to research new markets

215 companies have been approved under this initiative

Enterprise Ireland Prepare to Export Scorecard   

5,833 Prepare to Export Scorecards have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Customs Insights Online Course

1,937 Customs Insights Course participants

Enterprise Ireland Agile Innovation Fund - Gives rapid fast-track access to innovation funding

75 Agile Innovation projects have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Brexit Advisory Clinics

16 Brexit Advisory Clinics have been run with over 1,200 in attendance

Enterprise Ireland Brexit “Act On Programme” – A support funding the engagement of a consultant to devise report with recommendations to help clients address weaknesses and improve resilience

334 “Act on” Plans have been completed

Enterprise Ireland Strategic Consultancy Grant – A grant to assist EI clients to hire   a strategic consultant for a set period

1,095 Strategic Consultancy Grants have been approved

Enterprise Ireland Clear Customs Grant

219 applications have been made to access financial support through the scheme

Local Enterprise Office Technical Assistance Grant for Micro Export - an incentive for LEO clients to explore and develop new market opportunities

828 clients were approved assistance under the Technical Assistance Grant

Local Enterprise Office LEAN for Micro - The LEO Lean4Micro offer was developed in collaboration between the EI Lean department and the LEOs to tailor the EI Lean offer for LEO micro enterprise clients

499 LEO clients have participated in the programme

Local Enterprise Office Mentoring

1,271 mentoring participants solely focused on Brexit

Local Enterprise Office Brexit Seminars/Events

6,763 participants at the Brexit Information events  

Customs Training Participants

1,573 participants attended Customs Training

InterTradeIreland Brexit Advisory Service

5,402 SMEs have directly engaged with the Brexit Advisory Service in 2019. This is in addition to the 4,175   engagements in 2018.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Planning Vouchers

There have been 2,083 applications, with 1,799 approved and 8 still pending assessment.

InterTradeIreland Brexit Implementation Vouchers

There have been 58 applications, with 44 approved.

Pilot Online Retail Scheme administered by Enterprise Ireland

11 retailers were awarded funding in March 2019 under Call1. A second call of the Scheme closed on the 31 July 2019. 29 retailers were awarded funding under Call 2. The Pilot Online Retail Scheme has now concluded.