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Written Answers. - Access to Finance Scheme.

Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 462 No. 3

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 10. Ms O'Donnell Information on Liz O'Donnell Zoom on Liz O'Donnell  asked the Minister for Enterprise and Employment Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton  the number of companies by employee categories that availed of a loan under the access to finance scheme; and the average loan paid out in each case. [4472/96]

Minister for Enterprise and Employment (Mr. R. Bruton): Information on Richard Bruton Zoom on Richard Bruton The access to finance scheme is the primary measure of the Small Business Operation Programme. It provides a total fund of £208 million, with an interest rate of 6.5 per cent for a duration of seven years. It is being administered by four commercial banks, AIB, Bank of Ireland, Ulster Bank and National Irish Bank. The subsidy on the loans is carried by the European Commission, the Exchequer and the four participating banks with the latter accounting for almost 50 per cent of the subsidy.

At the end of January of this year, 304 companies had drawndown a total of £35,522,920. The average loan size is £116,852. The access to finance scheme as a whole is open to companies employing fewer than 50 employees or with a turnover of less than £3 million. This is in keeping with the definition of a small business provided by the Task Force on Small Business. No further breakdown of companies by employee categories is available at this time. An exercise is under way within my Department and in consultation with the banks to provide this data. I will forward the results to the Deputy as soon as it becomes available.

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