Budget 2018 is a step in the right direction for small business

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

  • Budget 2018 – a step in the right direction for small business
  • SFA welcomes the KEEP employee share option scheme
  • Budget silent on Capital Gains Tax competitiveness with UK

The Small Firms Association (SFA) has welcomed Budget 2018 as a step in the right direction for small business. SFA Director, Sven Spollen-Behrens, commented: “Budget 2018 is a signal of support for the small businesses of Ireland. These businesses, which employ half the private sector workforce, welcome in particular the announcement of the Key Employee Engagement Programme (KEEP), the retention of the 9% VAT rate for the tourism sector and the introduction of a Brexit loan scheme for small businesses.

“The introduction of a tailored employee share options scheme (KEEP) for small business is an important initiative, which has the potential to deliver improved management capacity, staff retention and productivity. Currently, only 6% of employees in Ireland are shareholders in the company where they work, compared to the EU average of 22%. Our members are keen to see the detail of the scheme and to start using it to help their businesses to grow and reward their key employees.

“Businesses know first-hand that the infrastructure challenge facing the country is acute, following a decade of under-investment. There were strong signs today that the quantum of spending is increasing and specific projects of strategic importance will receive funding. These projects must be progressed without delay, in order to enhance the capacity of the economy.”

“The Earned Income Tax Credit for the self-employed has come closer to parity with the PAYE Tax Credit, with today’s announcement of an increase of €200 to €1150. The SFA has fought for many years to end the discrimination that has too long been a feature of the income tax system; we will continue to campaign for the gap between the EITC and the PAYE Tax Credit (€1650) to close fully in next year’s Budget.

“There are, of course, aspects of today’s announcement which will pose challenges for small firms. Chief among these are confirmation of the 30c increase in the minimum wage and the risk of increased business costs through the rise in commercial stamp duty. Our members are also concerned about the increased National Training Fund levy; there are already concerns about the use of this fund and small firms will be insisting on much stricter deliverables in the future.

“On capital gains tax, the Minister was notably silent. The SFA has highlighted that increasing the limit for CGT Entrepreneurial Relief must be a key element of Ireland's response to Brexit. Instead, the Irish relief remains uncompetitive with the UK equivalent, meaning we will miss out on mobile investment and entrepreneurship.”


For further queries and interviews, please contact Sven Spollen-Behrens, SFA Director, on 087 160 9403 or sven@sfa.ie

Alternatively, contact:
Sue O’Neill, SFA Chair and Managing Director of Shellcove, on 087 901 3311
Linda Barry, SFA Assistant Director, on 0871472811 or linda.barry@sfa.ie


A full copy of the SFA’s pre-Budget 2018 submission is available on the SFA website. A summary version can be found here.

The SFA is the trusted partner of over 8,500 small businesses in Ireland. Its vision is of Ireland as the most vibrant small business community in the world – supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers.

98% of all businesses in Ireland are small firms (less than 50 employees) and one in every two people working in the private sector is employed by a small business. They account for one third of the value of the Irish economy and of business investment. Small firms are also key to the vibrancy of our regions, as they represent more than half of total employment in 21 counties.