300 million to none?

300 million to none?

A number of thoughts occur following the recent announcement by the Irish Government of a 300 million euro Brexit loan scheme for Irish business.  The loans, backed by the European Investment Fund, are for future working capital requirements to fund innovation, change or adaption for businesses to mitigate the impact of Brexit.

Speaking at the launch Minister Heather Humphrey’s said  “Coming from a business background, I am acutely aware of the challenges that Brexit poses to firms. This €300 million Brexit Loan Scheme is one of a number of supports that the Government has put in place to help companies prepare.”

“The Scheme will provide much-needed finance to eligible business impacted by the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. I am confident that it will make a real difference to firms, enabling them to adapt, change and innovate. This, in turn, will help them to become more competitive, a fundamental trait in any resilient business”,

So while the Government politically is advocating for a frictionless border at least some of its money is on another outcome that businesses, particularly food  (40% of the funding is aimed at food businesses) will be adversely impacted and they’ll need help.

The second thought is where is the similar help, or call for it, for Northern business?   Won’t the Southern assistance give companies there a competitive advantage?

It is worth noting these figures from IntertradeIreland’s recent report on WTO tariff implications. South to North trade in goods was valued at €1.65 billion in 2016 while North to South trade was €1.05 billion.

A further IntertradeIreland report explains the extensive nature of  cross border supply chain linkages and it is considerable.  So if Southern companies are going to be impacted both east west and cross border so are Northern ones and where is the support for them?