ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, called on the Government to bring a focus on business competitiveness to ensure that the recovery can be maintained. At the launch of the latest CSO Inflation Figures today (9th July), the Association repeated its concerns about unwarranted and unsustainable wage expectations being promoted by re-election seeking government politicians.
In June the inflation figure was 0.3% while the annual figure was -0.1%. The seventh consecutive month of negative annual inflation.
ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding commented, "At last the business indicators are pointing to a gradual and fragile recovery across the country. True to form the trades unions are first out of the blocks looking for wage increases, which is to be expected - that's what they do. However, in a pre-election year, the unions are being aided and abetted by politicians, hell bent on re-election. Is it too much to ask for 'political leadership', or is the economy consigned to more 'boom and bust' years?"
"Despite the benefit of the drop in the Euro, which should give a competitive advantage, exporters and other businesses are being hit with increases in their operating costs. The State's role is making sure that our competitiveness is not hampered through the high level of the price of its own services and assisting businesses to succeed, creating an environment for employment growth and protecting the jobs that already exist."
The Association called on the Government to:
Ensure that all state imposed business costs are benchmarked internationally.
Address the costs in which they have influence; energy, telecom, transport and the exorbitant fees of the monopolistic legal profession.
Reduce employer labour taxes to promote job creation.
Reduce public sector costs by addressing the increments, perks and inefficiencies.
"If Government is serious about assisting SMEs to grow they need to conduct a full review of business costs and begin the process of bringing them into line with our export competitors. As a small and open economy we cannot be expected to prosper if we cannot offer competitive prices to our trading partners," concluded Fielding.