ISME: Govt ignoring small businesses

ISME has slammed the Minister for Finance, Brian Lenihan, for throwing his lot in with the banks, large construction companies and other big business, while ignoring the plight of small business.

The Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association has reacted furiously with the minister, whose "sole blinkered preference is for cosying up to the representatives of big business, to the exclusion of the small business sector".

According to ISME Chief Executive, Mark Fielding" "Senior international political and policy figures have come out in support of their besieged small businesses in response to the global economic downturn and the banking fiasco.

"This is evident from US presidential candidates McCain and Obama, the US Federal Reserve and the US Senate and Congress who recently announced a multi-million dollar support programme for small businesses.

"British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called for the speeding up of a €15bn aid package for small firms administered by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other EU leaders have brought SMEs to the top of their agenda.

"In Ireland, as usual, the Minister for Finance, more concerned with bailing out the banks and big construction firms, has completely ignored the interests of Ireland’s small firms who account for 99% of all businesses."

In conclusion, Fielding called for specific policies to be introduced in the upcoming Budget to support the small business sector.

These policies, according to Mr Fielding, should include addressing the out-of-control cost environment, releasing affordable bank funding for SMEs and introducing initiatives to maintain and stimulate indigenous companies.

Mr Fielding said: "All successful economies support their small businesses, particularly during a crisis. This Government must cease to praise enterprise in the abstract and instead put their money where their mouth is, by supporting 99% of Irish indigenous business."

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