ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, gave a guarded welcome to the new incentives introduced in this week’s Budget to assist smaller enterprises to develop and grow. The Association described the Budget as a genuine effort to address the environment in which we work and an opportunity to recognize the potential of small businesses and introduce sufficient stimulus measures that will assist them in maintaining or increasing employment and remain competitive.
ISME welcomed the changes in the start-up corporation tax, cash receipts for VAT and the doubling of the R&D credit, together with the foreign earnings deduction and also welcomed the decision to introduce a diesel rebate for haulage contractors is overdue and most welcome.
Commenting on the Budget, ISME Chief Executive Mark Fielding stated “This Budget, while necessarily harsh, has taken the first steps to kick-start the economy. While tough measures are required to balance the day to day books, a much more strategic approach is needed to address the underlying bank-induced debt, the totally unaffordable public sector pension bill and the inappropriate union-dominated structure of the public sector.”
The decision to scrap the much needed redundancy rebate altogether means that the cost of redundancy has risen by a staggering 150% in a year, negatively impacting on those businesses already hardest hit. With the number of redundancies expected to increase it would have made more economic sense to ease the cost of labour for those vulnerable businesses.”
While acknowledging the difficult budgetary decisions faced by the Government, he said the cuts in private sector pension reliefs is a mistake, which will put further pressure on employers’ wage costs and will reduce the level of retirement savings.
“The cuts will be particularly hard on the self-employed who normally do not provide for their pensions until late in life,” he said.
He said the Association’s hard lobbying on the Sick Pay issue has been successful with the spotlight placed firmly on the public sector shortcomings and we have achieved our objective of no mandatory scheme for the private sector.
However the ISME is not happy with the scrapping of the €127 weekly exemption from PRSI, saying this will cost each employee an extra €261 per annum and will undoubtedly generate upward pressure on wage costs.