Labour activation measures in danger of being wasted if business costs not addressed.
Reduce state influenced costs and jobs will be created.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, in response to the latest Live Register figures released today (Thursday 31st October), called on the Government to put more effort into tackling the factors that are negatively impacting the SME sector, particularly excessive costs, black market trading and lack of access to bank finance. The welcome reduction in the overall unemployment figures is still no cause for celebration and a far cry from the aspirations of this Government when it came into office.
The latest seasonally adjusted Live Register figures confirm that 409,900 people are signing on the dole, a reduction of 3,700 in the month. Long-term claimants account for 46% of the total. The standardised unemployment rate has decreased slightly to 13.2%.
According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding, “There is a danger that government activation efforts will be wasted if business costs are allowed to increase. There is no point in offering incentives, grants and tax reductions for job creation without a parallel concerted effort to reduce the overall cost of doing business in Ireland. Compared to our international business competitors, our basic government influenced business costs are more expensive, in energy, local charges and transport, to name a few”.
The Association called on the Government to:
·Focus on cost-competitiveness.
·A total overhaul the social welfare system to make it worthwhile for people to work.
·Increase job-rich infrastructure investment.
·Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black-market activity.
·Address the lack of bank credit for productive SMEs.
“The Government must address the cost of running a business in tandem with any labour activation initiatives, otherwise the effort is doomed to failure. In addition, public sector costs must be reduced faster than envisaged and certainly faster than what is happening, or not happening, under ‘Haddington Road’. While business is suffering from exorbitant costs, already identified as a key inhibitor in job creation, it is ludicrous to expect a dramatic increase