Government failing to address cost burden for SMEs.
Wage pressures and pre-election promises causing postponement of employment decisions.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the reduction in the Monthly Unemployment figures for December, released by CSO today (5th January), while warning the Government that their continued failure to address rising business costs is slowing jobs growth in the SME sector. The Association expressed concern at the reduction in the rate of decline in unemployment in the last year.
The Monthly Unemployment figures for December confirm that 190,600 people are still signing on the dole, a reduction of 700 in the month. The standardised unemployment rate has remained at 8.8%.
ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, said, "It is no wonder that the Taoiseach has backtracked on his promise of full employment, pushing the target back by two years. The creation and promotion of wage increases for political ends and the ever increasing costs of business, ignored by government, are having a negative effect on employment growth".
"SMEs are looking to the future and they want to expand but increased business costs, including insurance, legal fees and most importantly wages are causing owner-managers to defer plans and this Government continues to ignore these increases, the main obstacle to job creation."
The recovery in the SME sector is still fragile and, unless it is economically viable to hire more staff, SMEs simply cannot afford to do it".
The Association called on the Government to:
Stop interfering in private sector wage bargaining.
Reduce government influenced business costs to below the EU average.
Reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work.
Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black economy activity.
"Government must concentrate on cost reduction, reform of the welfare system and a reduction of the black economy, all of which have been forgotten in the pre-election promise-fest. This administration will be judged on economic sustainability and jobs created", concluded Fielding.