SFA Chair Addresses National Economic Dialogue

June 19, 2023

The SFA Chair, Geraldine Magnier and Director, David Broderick attended the National Economic Dialogue on 12th June. The National Economic Dialogue is the principal institutional forum for public consultation and discussion on the Budget. This annual stakeholder engagement event is hosted jointly by the Department of Finance and the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform. The Dialogue provides a deliberative forum for stakeholders to participate in an open and inclusive exchange on the competing economic and social priorities facing the government.  

The discussions at the Dialogue focused on the theme of the economy in 2030: enabling a sustainable future for all. The SFA Chair Geraldine Magnier addressed the dialogue in the plenary session. Her speech focused on boosting competitiveness and reducing regulatory burden for Ireland’s small business owners.  

The Chair stated that embedding competitiveness is critical to building resilience in small businesses across the economy. Ireland must continue to invest in the competitiveness of our smallest employers by focusing on supports for capital investment, innovation, and skills development. The tax environment for small indigenous businesses should also be improved to encourage small firms and entrepreneurs to scale and grow their businesses and to help staff retention and attraction.  

She highlighted that 2023 has been a considerable challenging for small businesses owners in the area of employment law with the introduction of Statutory Sick Pay from January 1st, a minimum wage increase and a new public holiday. Whilst many of these policies have merit on their own terms, they are making the business landscape more difficult for small firms.  

As we transition to a green economy, SFA’s Chair called out the pressure business owners are under to make investments and on the management of new and emerging environmental regulations and reporting requirements. All of which is essential if they and the small business community, are to meet its sustainable obligations and targets under Irish and EU legislation.  

To secure and improve Ireland’s competitiveness, the Association believes that we must give small firms regulatory breathing space. The SME Test must be applied to new legislation and regulations across all government departments without exception.  

The Chair concluded by saying that Budget 2024 must focus on ensuring Ireland remains an attractive and competitive place to create and scale a business, through measures that reduce regulatory burden and boost competitiveness.  

To share your views on this topic or to raise any other policy concerns contact, Elizabeth Bowen, SFA Public Affairs Lead, on 01 6051530 or elizabeth.bowen@sfa.ie.