New financing opportunities available for Laois-Offaly farm families - Nolan
Offaly Independent TD Carol Nolan has welcomed the announcement of a Future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and farmers.
Deputy Nolan was speaking after the Scheme was launched by the Minister for Business, Heather Humphreys and the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed.
The purpose of the €300 million fund is to support strategic long-term investment in a post Brexit environment:
"For some time now I have been calling for the need to introduce a more flexible and accessible programme of funding for farm families who may not have access to high levels of loan security," Deputy Nolan said.
"This Scheme recognises that with the inclusion of a provision for loans of under €500,000 to be made on an unsecured basis."
"Most farm families, who are already limited by below average national incomes desperately needed this option."
"The only concerns I would have are around the actual operation of the Scheme itself in terms of progressing loan approvals to bank payment level."
"For example, we know that with the Brexit Loan Scheme for farmers, the total number of loans progressed to sanction at bank level is only 81 despite over 413 being approved."
"That level of approval to payment ratio will have to dramatically increase if this Scheme is to have the kind of supporting impact we desperately need it to have," Nolan added.
"In addition to this, we urgently need targeted and specific interventions for the beef sector which is being fundamentally undermined by Brexit related instability."
"Indeed there is a case to be made for a Beef Growth Loan Scheme, independent of the Future Loan Scheme."
"Given the scale of the challenge facing beef farmers and producers, this would have the benefit of ring-fencing direct funding for the beef sector while freeing up the Future Loan Scheme for SME’s and other farm sectors,” concluded Deputy Nolan.