SFA Comment on Action Plan for Jobs 2016

Monday, 18 January 2016

SFA Welcomes Action Plan for Jobs 2016
  • Small businesses set to create 30,000 jobs in 2016
  • Loss of competitiveness is the biggest risk facing Irish businesses

The Small Firms Association (SFA) has welcomed the publication today of the Action Plan for Jobs (APJ) 2016. Patricia Callan, SFA Director, said: “Ireland has transformed itself once again into a successful and growing economy – in large part due to the entrepreneurship, perseverance and innovation of small companies. The Action Plan for Jobs process is critical in driving a whole of Government targeting of measures to promote jobs, which is essential given our still relatively high rate of unemployment of 9%. Small businesses believe that the business environment will continue to improve in 2016 and they plan to create 30,000 more jobs, which will further enrich their communities and drive economic progress.”

The biggest risk currently facing the Irish economy is loss of competitiveness. Internationally, exchange rates, oil prices and interest rates are all strongly in Ireland’s favour, but these are aspects over which we have little control. The Irish Government and Irish businesses must ensure that our underlying competitiveness is not eroded. The particular focus in the APJ on monitoring these costs is most welcome, including insurance costs, property costs, etc. However, the most important cost for many small businesses is labour and demands for large-scales wage increases which are supported by some Government Ministers are entirely inappropriate with inflation running at 0%. The 6% increase in the National Minimum Wage, calls for a Living Wage and threats of increased bureaucracy around flexible working, are the biggest threats to job creation in Ireland", commented Callan.

The SFA also welcomed the commitment to have some 370 government transactions with business online by 2017, and within that target, the SFA called on the government to look at "removing and reducing the amount of licences and regulatory requirements in particular on small businesses". Callan concluded "the particular focus throughout the plan on making the various measures, such as in innovation, accessible and workable for small businesses is particularly welcome".

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For further comment, please call Patricia Callan, SFA Director, tel: 01 6051602 / 087-6999345, email: patricia.callan@sfa.ie, Twitter: @SFA_Irl, web: www.sfa.ie
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