Wednesday 20 February 2019


Minister opens loans scheme

ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton has set in motion the first steps to provide a €1.2bn state-backed loans scheme for start-up businesses.

The fund of €400m each year will be ready to tap by the autumn, the department said.

Mr Bruton said that at this stage a tender notice had gone out to find the company to design the scheme, which was announced as part of the Government's recent jobs initiative launch.

After a shortlist of five companies chosen to help design the scheme over the summer is drawn up, it is expected to be rolled out in October.

The scheme will provide for loans to be given out by banks but partially guaranteed by the Government.

It is estimated the scheme will cost the State around €12m for every full year, based on administration costs and the underwriting costs of guaranteeing the loans.

Meanwhile, the cost of labour to employers in Ireland dropped by more than 2pc in the first three months of the year, new statistics have outlined. EU statistics agency Eurostat said that only Greece and Ireland recorded falls at 6.8pc and 2.2pc respectively, while the other EU member states saw rises.

The largest drop in wages in Ireland was in construction, which plummeted by an average 11.6pc.

The overall cost of labour takes into account wages, including overtime and bonuses, and non-wage costs such as PRSI and other taxes charged to employers.

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