Friday, November 02 11:27:41
The Chairman of the Small Firms Association, Ian Martin, today pleaded with the Government ensure that next month's Budget doesn't increase the already heavy burden of costs on firms and that it does something to boost the domestic economy.
In his address to over 650 members and guests at the SFA Annual Lunch, he called on the Government to ensure that "in Budget 2013, the Government helps businesses to retain and create jobs through not increasing the cost of doing business, and secondly, that it helps to restore consumer confidence in the domestic market, which is where the vast majority of businesses and jobs are."
"The good news is that there are still almost 200,000 small firms in Ireland, with on average 12,000 new businesses setting up each year. Collectively we employ 655,000 people, more than half the private sector workforce. And the message is that we can do more, be more successful and employ more people, if the Government allows us to get on with the job by creating the right conditions for us to trade."
Mr Martin outlined the key elements of the SFA Pre-Budget Submission including its recommendation for the Government to introduce a model to "Job Proof" all government policies, i.e. conduct a cost impact analysis on all government proposals of how they will impact on jobs. "For example, proposals from the Department of Social Protection to increase employer's PRSI, pass on the cost of the first 4 weeks of sick pay to employers, and the introduction of mandatory employee pension provision will destroy job creation, just as the decision in Budget 2012 to slash the employer's redundancy rebate has damaged our ability to save more jobs. These proposals should be abandoned."
"Measures to support job creation should be simplified. For example, we support the replacement of existing PRSI reliefs which haven't been much used by smaller employers due to their complexity, with direct subsidies to all employers for recruiting JobBridge interns and long-term unemployed people, provided the net monetary value is the same to the employer."
On the critical issue of SME funding, Mr Martin commented: "Increasing credit availability from banks to SMEs remains critical to small business survival and growth. We acknowledge that there has indeed been some progress in the last year, in particular the promised micro-finance and government backed loan guarantee schemes are now up and running and should assist to get credit flowing to more businesses that need it.