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SFA wants promises of support for small business ahead of election

Wednesday, 22nd January, 2020 4:38pm

A group representing small businesses has called for commercial rates reform, tax changes and measures to combat insurance rises ahead of General Election 2020.

Launching the SFA’s Small Business Manifesto, Graham Byrne, Chairman of the Small Firms Association (SFA) this week, said: “Governments do not create jobs – businesses do – but the next government must put the right policies in place to increase the ease and attractiveness of doing business in Ireland. If it does so, a thriving small business community will create employment, reinvigorate towns and villages around the country and make a significant contribution to the Irish economy. For this, we need a cabinet that understands and values the contribution of the small business community and introduces a national SME and entrepreneurship policy.

“Ireland urgently needs a coherent strategy that places a clear focus on the 98 per cent of businesses employing half the private sector workforce in Ireland. The next government must get behind these indigenous businesses, just as it has supported our successful multinationals companies – to unlock untapped potential and ensure our competitiveness in what is now a very changing world.

“48 per cent of Cork’s private sector employees work in a small firm. This election presents the next government with the opportunity to act to limit increases in areas they control and focus on the domestic challenges facing small firms in Cork and across the country.”

The SFA has called on parties and candidates to adopt these small business priorities for Election 2020:

Tackle the growing cost of doing business:

End rising insurance costs - Combat the substantial increase in employer and public liability insurance and related legal costs

Wage pressures – Recognise the need to reconcile pay demands with threats to competitiveness

Commercial rates – Fundamentally reform the commercial rates system

Administration burden - Apply the SME test across government departments to reduce the regulatory burden on small business

Access to finance – Improve access to bank and non-bank finance for small businesses, boosting competition and reducing the high interest rates paid by Irish businesses

Boost investment by improving the tax environment:

Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1,650 to equal the PAYE tax credit

Reduce the general CGT rate to 20 per cent

Increase the lifetime limit for CGT Entrepreneur Relief to €15 million

Simplify the admin procedure for the R&D Tax credit

Introduce a tax relief for non-domiciled new hires by small business

Preparing small firms for the future of work:

Infrastructure - Address issues such as childcare, housing, transport links and broadband to ensure competitiveness

Upskilling - Provide sufficient training in leadership, digital readiness and financial management skills

Public procurement – Secure better access for small business to public contracts

Make small businesses part of the solution to climate change:

Set clear and definite environmental targets, policies and incentives to help small businesses know what they need to do in enough time to transition to a low carbon economy

Provide small businesses with additional State supports to identify and exploit opportunities from the green economy as they emerge

Graham Byrne concluded: “We are urging every party and candidate contesting the 2020 General Election to listen to, and make every effort to understand, the challenges faced by small firms in the communities they hope to represent. The next government, whatever its makeup, must put small business at the heart of its policies by supporting their transition to a low carbon economy, addressing issues such as broadband, childcare, housing, transport links and investing more ambitiously in entrepreneurship.”

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