Politicians must stop the wild promises of wage increases.
Social welfare system not fit for purpose.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the latest CSO Live Register figures released today (3rd December) but warned the Government that SMEs are being forced to take a cautious approach to hiring, due to labour cost uncertainty. The Association reminded Government that job growth will only come when SMEs know their costs.
Because of the cost uncertainty, job growth is slowing, with the seasonally adjusted Live Register figure decreasing by 2,200, leaving 330,000 people signing on the dole. Long-term claimants still account for 46.4% of the total.
ISME CEO, Mark Fielding commented on the figures, "Despite the positive exchequer figures, SMEs are still not seeing the benefits of the recovery as yet. The Government cannot simply sit and wait for SMEs to create new jobs, especially when they continue to promise wage increases. They must assist by cutting state-influenced costs, overhauling the social welfare system and making it profitable and worthwhile for people to work, through the taxation system".
"The large numbers of long-term unemployed and jobless households is a societal issue that must be addressed. The inflexible nature of the social welfare system itself is a key factor in creating the social welfare trap, in which many jobseekers find themselves. The system must be changed to ensure ease of return to work."
The Association called on the Government to:
Focus on cost competitiveness for the SME sector.
Reduce government influenced business costs to below the EU average.
Ensure real measurable access to credit for viable SMEs.
Outsource more state sector services to SMEs.
Reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work.
Expand the export capacity of the SME sector through soft supports.
Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black economy activity.
"Government promises to make Ireland 'the best country in which to do business' have been forgotten, as politicians focus on the imminent election. They must remember that the country is only barely out of recession and far from buoyant. The recovery is still fragile and we cannot return to tiger wage rates", concluded Fielding.