The Small Firms Association has said that today’s Budget has failed to provide sufficient stimulus for the small business sector to maintain and create employment.
The chairman of the Small Firms Association, Dr Aidan O’Boyle said: "The minister has missed an opportunity to put jobs and enterprise centre stage and provide a comprehensive package of support measures that will return the economy to growth by supporting enterprise in job retention and creation."
"Many small business owner-managers were waiting on today’s budget before making their own business plans for next year.
"This budget should serve to restore their confidence that there is now at least a realistic plan in place to tackle our problems and put us the pathway back to growth."
The association said that the reduction in alcohol excise and the 0.5% reduction in VAT is welcome as this "will go some way to reducing cross border shopping".
The SFA welcomed the commitment to retain the 12.5% rate of corporation tax, and the three year corporate and capital tax exemption for new businesses set up in 2010.
However, they also said the credit review system proposed "will still not deliver on credit being made available to SMEs".
Dr O’Boyle said: "The banks are commercial entities and will not move from risk assessment criteria about what is a viable business and therefore we will still require Government intervention to breach this gap, with some form of risk sharing scheme between Government and the banks."
"“The implementation of a 6% carbon tax on gas will only further add to the energy costs for businesses as gas is a key element in the production of electricity. This will not assist firms in addressing the competitiveness challenge that firms are still facing."