Businesses unhappy with Administration’s performance.
Governments handling of business costs continue to be an issue for SMEs.
Declines in all four indicators, Banking, Jobs, Economy, and Costs.
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, published the results of its latest Government Satisfaction Survey* today (3rd November), for the third quarter of 2016. The results show that SMEs overall satisfaction with the Governments performance continues to decline for the third consecutive quarter. Governments handling of the economy sees the biggest decline, while this Administration’s dealing with business costs continues to attract the most dissatisfaction amongst SMEs.
ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell, commented on the results stating, “Government satisfaction is at its lowest in two years. Excessive business costs, and mishandling of industrial relations are creating an element of uncertainty and doubt among SMEs. Increasing labour costs, access to finance, poor broadband and late payments must be addressed if this Government wants to restore confidence for SMEs.”
“Dissatisfaction is most acute among micro businesses (employing between 1 and 10 people). Sectorally, retail was the least satisfied with the Government. Discontent is multifaceted, but the Government’s handling of industrial relations and its lack of aggressive Brexit planning affects SME confidence.”
The survey was conducted in the first week of October, with 745 SME respondents. 52% of whom employ less than 10, while a further 38% employ between 11 and 50 and the remaining 10% employ between 51 and 250. Geographically, 26% are from Dublin with 66% spread across the country, with 7% with multiple sites, giving a good reflection of the country as a whole, sectorally, geographically and by employee numbers.
COMBINED RATING (from -12% to -16%)
The overall satisfaction rating continues to decline, having dropped by -3 points, from -12% (Q2) to -16% in Q3. Micro and small enterprises express the most dissatisfaction with the Government; micro enterprises -23% , small enterprises -13%, while medium enterprises show a positive increase from -19% (Q2) to +6% (Q3). Retail and Services are least satisfied at -25% and -23% respectively. Distribution is at -19%, while Manufacturing is most satisfied at +17%. Construction is also satisfied at +13%, up from 12% in Q2.
JOBS RATING (From +7% to +4%)
There has been a marginal decrease in satisfaction ratings with the Government’s handling of the jobs situation. This is the only indicator that has remained positive, but still experienced a decline of 3% in Q2. Small businesses are least satisfied at the Government’s handling of jobs -1%, down from +1% in Q2.
BANKING (from-49% to -54%)
The banking score continues to be negative. The gains made in Q2 (-56% to -49%) have reversed dropping from -49% to -54% in Q3. Access to finance still remains an issue among SMEs, with a 36% refusal rate recorded in our latest Bank Watch survey. Micro businesses are most dissatisfied at -66%, with Small and Medium scoring -46% and +23% respectively. The Government must ensure that finance and credit is available to SMEs in order to stimulate growth in the indigenous economy.
ECONOMY (from -7% to -19%)
This question examines how satisfied SMEs are with the Government’s handling of the economy. This quarter, satisfaction ratings decreased by 12% to from -7% (Q2) to -19% (Q3). The decline in competitiveness is also a concern. Brexit uncertainty, sterling depreciation and handling of industrial relations drove this decline.
BUSINESS COSTS (-65)
Although satisfaction with business costs remains static at -65%, they remain the area of least satisfaction with the Government. Manufacturing and Distribution record levels of dissatisfaction at -70% and -68% respectively, while satisfaction in the Services sector is at -67%. The issue of high business costs is key for SMEs.
“Government must address the key issues facing the SME sector, high business costs, economic uncertainty, access to credit and broadband services. While we acknowledge the Government is now working hard on Brexit, continuing uncertainty is sapping SME confidence” concluded McDonnell.
For further information contact:
Neil McDonnell Chief Executive Tel: 01 6622755 Mobile: 0872995658