Saturday 23 September 2017

SMEs to receive low-cost loan support from Government

The firms are creating hundreds of jobs
The firms are creating hundreds of jobs
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Under a new Government plan, low-cost loans for SME exporters could be considerably cheaper than any currently available loans.

If the loans to SMEs are priced at a similar rate to loans which were provided to farmers under a special programme announced in last year’s budget, the interest rate could be approximately 3pc.

Currently the average price of loans to SMEs in Ireland is 5.5pc, which is higher than euro area averages, according to the latest data from the Central Bank.

The Government has applied to the European Commission for State aid clearance for the scheme. It is expected that the funding would be available to exporters who are affected by the impact of Brexit.

Under the Government loan scheme to farmers €150m was made available through AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank. The unsecured loans were available at a rate of 2.95pc for amounts up to a maximum of €150,000 for up to six years.

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