The Small Firms Association (SFA) has today welcomed Budget 2018 as a step in the right direction for small business.
The Association believes that the introduction of a tailored employee share options scheme (KEEP) for small business is an important initiative, which has the potential to deliver improved management capacity, staff retention and productivity.
Currently, only 6% of employees in Ireland are shareholders in the company where they work, compared to the EU average of 22%. SFA claims its members are keen to see the detail of the scheme and to start using it to help their businesses to grow and reward their key employees.
However, the SFA also warned that there are aspects of today’s announcement which will pose challenges for small firms. Chief among these are confirmation of the 30c increase in the minimum wage and the risk of increased business costs through the rise in commercial stamp duty.
Speaking today, SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens said, "Budget 2018 is a signal of support for the small businesses of Ireland. These businesses, which employ half the private sector workforce, welcome in particular the announcement of the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP), the retention of the 9% VAT rate for the tourism sector and the introduction of a Brexit loan scheme for small businesses."
He added, "Businesses know first-hand that the infrastructure challenge facing the country is acute, following a decade of under-investment. There were strong signs today that the quantum of spending is increasing and specific projects of strategic importance will receive funding. These projects must be progressed without delay, in order to enhance the capacity of the economy."