I am delighted to have a brief opportunity to speak in support of the European Investment Fund Agreement Bill 2018. The Minister of State wants to pass this Bill urgently and to have provisions in place to implement the scheme early in 2019. There is a sense of urgency every day as we see events taking place at Westminster.
The Bill gives the Ministers for Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Business, Enterprise and Innovation the power to enter into agreements with the European Investment Fund to facilitate the future growth loan scheme, which was announced in budget 2019. Initially I wondered why it was necessary. Why did the Attorney General state the Government could not establish the fund? When Mr. Andrew McDowell appeared before one of the finance committees – it may have been the Committee on Budgetary Oversight – he urged us to try to draw down more money from the European Investment Bank, of which he is our director, for infrastructural projects, small businesses and all types of business. Will the Minister of State comment on that?