Small firms get access to €450m credit line
THE GOVERNMENT has announced that the €450 million credit guarantee scheme for small businesses will begin operating from next Wednesday.
The scheme, aimed at ensuring some 5,600 businesses can avail of credit lines, is one of the main initiatives in the Coalition’s action plan for jobs.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the credit guarantee scheme would be essential as part of the Government’s “mission of getting Ireland working again”.
The action plan for jobs has promised to implement 270 specific measures in 2012 to promote job creation in the Irish economy. The Government also undertook to publish quarterly reports on what has been achieved.
A press conference yesterday, also attended by Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore and Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, heard that all but nine of the 67 actions for the third quarter of 2012 had been achieved. It also heard that the small number of targets missed in previous quarters had been met.
As well as the credit guarantee scheme, the Government also said its Microfinance Fund has been in operation since October 1st. The fund lends sums of up to €25,000 to businesses with 10 employees or fewer, which have had difficulty accessing credit from banks.
Both measures are aimed at addressing complaints from small and medium business that they are encountering substantial difficulties in obtaining credit.
Other targets achieved included the setting-up of new technology centres in cloud computing; learning applications and financial services; new legislation for wage-setting agreements in certain industries; and “Smart Futures”, an initiative to encourage young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and maths.
Some nine measures were not achieved. Mr Kenny said that most of those had been delayed because they required legislation and there was a backlog caused by priority Bills going through the Oireachtas. They included getting downward pressure on insurance and legal costs; revision of foreshore licence legislation; the new employment rights legislation; and the issuing of a certificate to those over one year unemployed to allow them enter specific programmes.
The aim of the plan is to create 100,000 jobs in the Irish economy by 2016. At the press conference yesterday, the Ministers contended that while unemployment remains high, job provision has started to grow in more sustainable sectors since March 2011.
Some of the 67 actions were scheduled to take place even if a plan was not in place. Asked if it was a box-ticking exercise, Mr Kenny said the jobs plan involved a whole-of-Government approach.