Indigenous SMEs are the key to a resurgent economy.
State-influenced business costs continue to rise.
Job creation dependent on cost reduction.
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, at the release of the Quarterly National Household Survey today (23rd February), called on the whatever new Government is formed to place SME business at the centre of economic planning. The Association demanded that value for money audits be carried out in all government departments to ensure efficiencies and productivity so that government influenced costs can be curtailed.
The Quarterly National Household Survey shows that 44,100 jobs were created in the last twelve months. There are still 187,500 people unemployed, of which 54.5% are long-term claimants. The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate has reduced from 9.2% to 9.1% over the quarter.
According to ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, "Small and medium businesses are the key to a resurgent economy, despite the fact that many, as yet, have not felt the recovery. In addition, there has been a noticeable increase in business costs, which affect small business disproportionately and lead to diminished competitiveness both in exports and in the home market".
"The benefits of external factors such as oil and currency are temporary and over which the Government has no control. The challenge for the new government is to concentrate on internal factors under their influence, insurance, legal fees and public sector costs to name but three."
The Association demanded that the next Government address the concerns of smaller businesses by;
Focusing on cost competitiveness, with a concerted effort to tackle SME business costs.
Using the tax and social welfare system to encourage employment.
Tackling the Social Welfare Trap and the surge in the black economy.
Ensuring flexibility in the labour market through reasonable regulations.
Carrying out the promised reform of the public sector.
Introducing an independent Public sector Pay Commission.
Monitoring the availability of bank credit in the economy.
"The new Government must focus on fostering an environment in which jobs can be created. Now is the time to use the tax and social welfare systems to stimulate employment, rather than increasing employers' costs. That action will encourage confidence and stimulate consumer spend across the country, extending the recovery,"concluded Fielding.