SFA launches its Manifesto for GE2020
Launching the SFA’s ‘Small Business Manifesto’, Graham Byrne, Chairman of the Small Firms Association, 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% 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.
“With confidence among small business owners hitting a fresh low in 2019 and Brexit and global economic uncertainty set to continue, 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 such as giving them the broadband they need through the swift delivery of the National Broadband Plan.
The SFA calls 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 and reduce the high interest rates paid by Irish businesses compared with those in other EU countries
Boost investment by improving the tax environment:
• Increase the Earned Income Tax Credit to €1650 to equal the PAYE tax credit
• Reduce the general CGT rate to 20%
• Increase the lifetime limit for CGT Entrepreneur Relief to €15 million
• Simplify the administration 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 small businesses 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
In conclusion, Graham Byrne stated: “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 childcare, housing, transport links and investing more ambitiously in entrepreneurship.