Government failing to address cost burden for SMEs.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, warned Government of the dangers of stifling SME expansion plans, through incessant cost increases in minimum wage, parental and paternity leave and sick leave, at the release of the monthly unemployment figures, today (5th August). The Association took note of the stall in job creation in the month, with the standardised rate stuck at 9.7%.
The Monthly Unemployment figures for July confirm that 208,900 people are still signing on the dole, a slight increase of 300 in the month. The standardised unemployment rate has remained at 9.7% for the third month.
ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, said, "Real wages are rising by a little over 2%, which is putting a strain on smaller businesses. However, the recent 6% minimum wage hike and the cave in to the already overpaid public sector will create further wage pressure and cause alarm bells to ring, especially in the labour intensive sectors. The Government are not doing enough to lessen the other cost burdens on SMEs".
"Recent announcements by Government seem to assume that sales are increasing, costs are being held and our competitiveness is improving. Nothing could be further from the truth for the SME sector. The rush announcements by the Labour side of government have more to do with survival of a political party than survival of the SME economy."
The Association called on the Government to:
Stop interfering in private sector wage bargaining.
Reduce government influenced business costs to below the EU average.
Ensure real measurable access to credit for viable SMEs.
Reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work.
Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black economy activity.
"The recent ISME survey on Government Satisfaction shows that this administration scores very badly on business cost curtailment. It is easy to hand over someone else's money, as in the minimum wage, it takes courage and acumen to manage the country's competitiveness, especially within months of an election. Today's figures are a warning that much more must be done", concluded Fielding.