SFA meets Minister Richard Bruton on Jobs

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

  • Government Job Promises dependent on success of small businesses
  • Cost of employment No. 1 barrier to job creation

The SFA Director, Patricia Callan, at a meeting with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Richard Bruton, TD, today, set out the small business priorities for increasing jobs.

Callan stated: “Government job promises in the Action Plan for Jobs can only be delivered through successful small businesses. We need to improve the general business environment. We need to encourage more people to take the risk and become self-employed and set up new businesses. We need to make work attractive for those on social welfare. But first and foremost we need to ensure that there are no more increases in the cost of employment, which is the biggest barrier to existing employers in creating new jobs.”

Callan commented: “The small business sector currently employs half the private sector workforce, some 700,000 people. Irish labour costs are 11th highest in Europe and 21% above the EU average. Total business costs are 25% lower in the UK than in Ireland. This is putting us at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Government changes over the past number of years in PRSI, illness benefit, redundancy rebate, health insurance and general taxation have all impacted negatively. No further costs can be imposed through Budget 2016. We remain opposed to any increase in the statutory minimum wage and mandatory pension or sick pay provision, which would have a devastating impact on the still fragile recovery that is taking place in small firm employment.”

The SFA called on the Government to demonstrate its real support for small businesses by stopping the discrimination between self-employed/proprietary directors and PAYE workers across the tax and social welfare systems. It also highlighted the need for the Government to develop specific policy proposals around second-chance entrepreneurship, where a small business owner has previously failed. The 2013 GEM Report shows that fear of failure among the Irish entrepreneurial adult population has risen from 35% in 2006 to 45% in 2013. Fear of failure in Ireland deters individuals from starting a new business, and is more prevalent among women (49%) than it is among men (42%).

Callan also called on the Government “to take proactive measures to enhance the general business environment, which will lead to higher levels of job creation, including improving access to equity and finance, reducing CGT rates, improving SME access to public procurement and reducing business costs.”

Callan concluded: “The small business sector has consistently demonstrated that given the right economic conditions, small business owner-managers will, with confidence, continue to invest, create and grow new businesses, thus increasing employment levels and overall revenues to the Government in both business and personal taxation. Our Government must remember that this model of creating a supportive environment for indigenous small business has been and will continue to be the corner stone of our economic success.”


For any queries and additional comment, please contact:
Patricia Callan, Director, Small Firms Association at Tel: 01-6051602 or 087-6999345 or e-mail: patricia.callan@sfa.ie , Tweet @SFA_Irl