Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Dara Calleary says the party will continue to put forward innovative policies to encourage and incentive job creation, including the establishment of a State Enterprise Bank to lend to small and medium businesses.
Deputy Calleary explained, “Fianna Fáil has a proud history of promoting pro-enterprise policies that will boost business and increase employment. SMEs are the lifeblood of the economy and without easy access to credit, we risk cutting out the oxygen that sustains and grows our indigenous sector. We have consistently set out proposals for the establishment of a fully licenced state enterprise bank similar to the former Industrial Credit Corporation (ICC) as a key priority in government.
“The Action Plan for Jobs proclaimed that it would “make access to finance a central feature of the Government’s recovery and growth plans for the economy in general and for the SME sector in particular”. However, overall lending to SMEs continues to decline.
“The recently established Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) will not have a banking licence. Instead it will provide credit to the existing pillar banks AIB and Bank of Ireland (and potential new entrants) who then lend to SMEs. Fianna Fáil believes that the SBCI should be permitted to lend directly to SMEs.
“SBCI falls well short of a full service, state backed bank along the lines of the ICC which operated successfully for many years. Fine Gael and Labour have failed to deliver on their commitments set out in the 2011 Programme for Government. Fianna Fáil believes that the lending gap, which exists in Irish banking, would be bridged via a State Enterprise Bank, which could lend to any company, regardless of sector or size, provided it can demonstrate its creditworthiness.
“Fianna Fáil’s detailed proposals in this area will benefit enterprises by incentivising small business start-ups by providing directly accessible SME funding sources”.