Irish Government falls behind UK in aiding SMEs

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Irish small and medium sized businesses are being neglected by the Government, compared with UK counterparts



8 February 2009

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The UK Government’s recent £20bn loans scheme for small and medium sized businesses, contrasts with a lack of similar iniatives from the Irish Government, says ISME.

The UK package will guarantee up to 50% of up to £20bn worth of loans to SMEs. It also guarantees another £1.3bn of loans to small companies and a £75m enterprise fund for small firms which need equity investment.

However Mark Fielding, ISME chief executive told ShelfLife: “The move, while obviously welcome to cash starved UK businesses, contrasts with the lack of initiatives from the Irish Government, who seem more concerned with saving the bankers’ skins than ensuring that badly needed finance is made available to Irish SMEs who are still struggling with cashflow problems.”

ISME says over half of companies have already been refused extended credit facilities. Meanwhile, 51% of companies have indicated that they will be letting people go over the next number of months, and Fielding says: “We would expect this figure to increase if no action is taken to free up badly needed credit.”  

The Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association (NIIRTA) believes the £20bn loan scheme doesn’t go far enough though. It has given it “a cautious welcome” and is seeking clarification as to how the plan will apply to Northern Ireland.



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