Cork Senator and member of the Agriculture, Food and the Marine committee, Tim Lombard, is pleased that today’s Budget 2018 announcement has seen expansion of the low interest loan scheme that was offered to farmers in 2016/17. The last budget allocated €150million to the Agriculture Cashflow Support Loan Scheme, which made loans available to farmers at the interest rate of 2.95%.
Senator Lombard said: “The success of this scheme was immense, barely any of this fund remains, indicating that there is a great appetite out there for low interest loans.
“Following on from this successful venture, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine in conjunction with the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have now formulated the Brexit Loan Scheme.
“Under this expanded scheme there is funding up to €300m available at a competitive 4% interest rate to farmers and small and medium businesses enterprises (SME’s), including food businesses, to assist with short-term working capital needs.
“I am delighted to see the expansion of low interest loans. SME’s are the backbone of our economy, critical to local communities as a source of employment and commerce, while agriculture is and always has been an invaluable industry in Ireland.
“These driving forces of our rural economy require support to mitigate against the uncertainty of Brexit. I know from talking to local farmers and business owners that cashflow difficulties are a real concern after recent changes in the sterling exchange rate and commodity prices in certain sectors.
“The Brexit Loan Scheme will help stimulate and stabilise economy and job creation for SME’s and farmers alike, enabling growth of more stable employment for Ireland as well as the long-term sustainability of our economy.