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Reacting to the launch of the €300m Future Growth Loan Scheme for SMEs and farmers, IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said, “While we welcome this as a product for capital long-term investment, it is disappointing that there is no opportunity to apply for working capital under this scheme”.

He said the number of farmers who will consider this a valuable scheme will be small, but it will be a positive for those who do not have access to security.

The scheme is designed to support long-term capital investment and it will be open to farmers from April 17th. 40% available to the agri-food sector.

For loans up to €250,000, the maximum rate is 4.5%. For larger loans, a rate of 3.5% is available.

The minimum loan value is €50,000, with unsecured loans of up to €500,000 available. These loans are based on a repayment schedule of eight to ten years.

IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton has said it’s vital that all possible actions are taken to stop AIB and Rabobank from selling further farm loans to unregulated vulture funds.  “Our view is that by selling these loans, banks which approved the loans in the first place are abdicating their responsibilities by throwing their customers to the wolves,” he said.

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IFA Farm Business Chairman Martin Stapleton said the provision in the Finance Bill to limit tax reliefs for young farmers sends a very bad signal to the next generation of farmers.

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Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Finance today, IFA President Joe Healy accused vulture funds of killing off farm businesses that have the potential to repay their debts over time and return to viability.

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Budget Report 2019

The macroeconomic outlook for 2019 is generally positive, Ireland is expected to achieve GDP growth of 4%, down slightly on previous years. Levels of employment are increasing and Government debt as a % of GDP is falling, it is expected to reach 63.5% in 2019, down from highs of 120% in 2012/20131. Debt levels are more accurately reflected as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI), which also reflect a downward trend.

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