Government failing to address cost burden for SMEs.
Investment and employment decisions being delayed.
Stall in job creation as a result.
At the release of the monthly unemployment figures, today (1st September), ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, voiced its concern that the unemployment numbers had increased, albeit by a small amount. The Association called on the Government to use the upcoming budget to ‘come clean’ on threats of cost increases in minimum wage, parental and paternity leave, which are stifling job creation in the SME sector.
The Monthly Unemployment figures for August confirm that 206,500 people are signing on, a slight increase of 400 in the month. The standardised unemployment rate has remained at 9.5% for the third month.
ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, said, “This administration has scored badly on dealing with business costs. At a time when we have negative inflation, low interest rates and decreasing oil prices our domestic costs have continued to increase. The failure to deal with upward only leases, legal costs, energy prices and the introduction of numerous public service charges, continues to put pressure on struggling business”.
“In addition to these costs, the continuing pre-election promises from politicians are creating an unhealthy uncertainty which is hindering investment and job creation. The recent cave-in on public sector wages could trigger a knock-on in the labour intensive private sector, putting a veritable stop to recruitment.”
The Association called on the Government to:
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.
Stop interfering in private sector wage bargaining.
“If the priority of this Government is job creation, then it must assist rather than hinder those of us who can create jobs. Planning and policies must take precedence over platitudes and promises from ministers jostling for political gain. The coalition will be judged on jobs created by SMEs, it is high time they realised that and did more to help”, concluded Fielding.