Government Needs To Act On Support for Small Businesses says O’Rourke

–        as latest figures show that borrowing rates higher in Ireland

businessLocal Fianna Fail TD, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to support small businesses in relation to the cost of borrowing, following the publication of figures from the Central Bank, which shows the cost of borrowing for SMEs are higher than the EU norm and small borrowers are disadvantaged.

“Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with loans of less than €250,000 have interest rates of more than double those with debt greater than €1m, and interest rates for businesses in Ireland remain significantly above euro averages, running about 2% higher than other EU countries” stated Deputy O’Rourke, who is piloting a Bill through the Oireachtas, named the Public Services and Procurement (Social Value) Bill 2017, which is designed to assist SMEs to compete for State tenders.

“The average interest rate for SMEs borrowing €250,000 or less, is now 5%. This is 3% higher than that for loans above €1m and 1.6% higher than that for loans between €0.25m and €1m.”

“The SME sector employs over 800,000 nationally and is the life blood of our economy. It is simply unfair that our SME sector is being disadvantages by Irish Banks, banks which are supported by Irish taxpayers. The Government needs to address the points raised by the Central Bank report and support our SME sector.”

“With my colleague, Finance Spokesperson, Deputy Michael McGrath, we have introduced legislation designed to give the Central Bank greater powers to tackle excessive standard variable interest rates charged by Irish Banks for home mortgage holders.  There is no credible explanation as to why variable rates in Ireland are so much higher than elsewhere in Europe and this legislation is designed to bring fairness into the home mortgage market. This is another example of unfair practice by Irish Banks,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.

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