Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Brexit Lisa Chambers says the government needs to do more to ensure that businesses are as protected from the fallout from Brexit as they can be.  She was reacting to new research, which revealed that only 6% of businesses have a Brexit plan.

Deputy Chambers explained, “Earlier this year the government announced a number of supports for businesses and farmers but the take up for many of them is worryingly low.  Only 132 companies have been approved under the Brexit Working Capital Loan Scheme, with a further 122 grants approved under the Be Prepared Initiative.  If these low uptake rates continue, the majority of businesses will not be Brexit ready.

“The current range of supports is also extremely limited.  Instead of focusing on loan schemes, we need to be looking at supports for product diversification, currency hedging and accessing new markets.

“We also need to tailor specific supports for cross-border companies.  The majority of these businesses are already feeling the impact of Brexit, particularly firms in the agri-sector.  It has also emerged that there are issues with the rollout of the €25 million low-cost loan scheme for the agri-food sector.  Farming organisations are claiming that it will be 2019 at the earliest before farmers will be able to draw down any funds.

“We need to be giving Irish businesses the best chance to compete on the EU and international stage post Brexit, but these schemes, along with other, more specific supports, need to be rolled out.   The government needs to get serious about its Brexit planning so that Irish jobs can be protected and created”.