SFA Annual Lunch 2013

Friday, 1 November 2013

· SFA Chair asks as the Troika departs – what does it mean for small business?

· Access to credit and public contracts remain a major concern for small business

· Concerns that pension contributions may not be safe from further levies and bank levies will end up as additional charges

The Chairman of the Small Firms Association, A J Noonan addressing over 650 members and guests at the SFA Annual Lunch, sponsored by Zurich Insurance, said small business are key to the social and economic wellbeing of the country and he asked Guest of Honour Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar to clearly outline what the Trokia departure and regaining our economic sovereignty will mean for small business.

With one in four small firms still finding it challenging to access credit, Noonan asked if sovereignty regained would mean parity of esteem for entrepreneurs and small business in accessing finance and credit. “We now need to see the banks lending to more challenging but viable businesses to ensure they can access the credit they require for working capital and investment.”

Noonan questioned if small enterprises will gain a greater share of public contracts stating that new Government buying policies on procurement has the potential to eliminate small businesses from the tendering process.

“Government policy on the need to save money in public procurement, whilst valid, should be clearly aligned to its enterprise support and job creation agenda. In its pursuit of the cheapest price, the Government is neglecting the fact that this will not deliver either the quality, cost in use savings or service levels it desires, but will result in lost jobs.”

AJ Noonan expressed concerns that pension contributions may not be safe from further levies and questioned if further bank levies will end up as additional charges, “Small businesses are already crippled with bank charges, and the real fear is that this cost will be passed back to businesses and result in further increased charges and lack of credit.”

“If Government are forthright in their ambition to create jobs then they must recognise that every job in this economy is hard won and equally important and that small business is the best opportunity to create those badly needed jobs,” said Noonan.

The SFA Chairman called on Government to focus on assisting a pro small business climate, to create the environment where business and enterprise thrive, where risk is rewarded and where the subsequent wealth creation can be redistributed throughout society.

“We would all acknowledge that this has been a very difficult time for small business. However, the small business community is still strong; still courageous; still hungry for success and still capable of delivering real growth and employment,” concluded Noonan.

Echoing AJ Noonan’s comments, Ken Norgrove, CEO of Zurich General Insurance added, “Irish small businesses face a myriad of challenges in today’s economic climate. At Zurich we are acutely aware of these difficulties, through our work with over 450 brokers nationwide. Growth within the SME sector will be a key driver of Ireland’s economic recovery in the coming years, and in order to ensure the sector reaches its full potential into the future, it is essential that the proper support measures are put in place now.”


For further comment, please contact AJ Noonan, SFA Chairman at Tel: 086-2592610.
Issued by Aviné McNally, SFA Director at Tel: 087-6450205.

The Small Firms Association (SFA) is the national organisation exclusively representing the needs of small enterprises (i.e. those employing less than 50 employees) in Ireland. The organisation works with government and policy makers nationally and internationally, to ensure that the economic environment is conducive to small business establishment and development.