SFA targets 100,000 new jobs

The Small Firms Association has submitted a list of 28 measures on which it wants government action to help create the next 100,000 jobs across the economy.

The SFA warned policymakers against complacency over falling unemployment rates and called on for a host of business-friendly measures to help small firms.

“It is imperative that we support entrepreneurs to establish and grow their businesses, but we must also work to remove the blockers to full participation in the labour market,” SFA chairman, AJ Noonan said.

Top of the organisation’s wishlist is the introduction of a childcare tax credit that would increase labour market participation rates, particularly among women.

Childcare costs in Ireland have long been flagged as being inordinately high with the net cost accounting for 27% of average earnings here as opposed to the EU average of 11.2%.

Measures to help entrepreneurs and startups also feature prominently on the wish list .

The SFA is seeking a “significant reform” of the Capital Gains Tax relief for entrepreneurs to mirror that in the UK.

Under the current scheme entrepreneurs only benefit from the relief after the sale of their second business which can take years and prohibits a large proportion of potential beneficiaries.

Calls are also made in the SFA submission for employee share options to be made more accessible, echoing comments made last week by the Irish Pro-Share Association.

“The effective double taxation of employee share options is a major barrier to starting a company in Ireland, especially in the technology sector, as it hampers start-ups’ ability to attract the talent they need,” said Mr Noonan.

Meanwhile, the number of late payments of SMEs fell in the last quarter with the average payment period now at 55 days.

The Irish Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Association (ISME) welcomed the reduction but warned that SMEs continue to struggle with liquidity issues due to late payments and reiterated its call for a statutory 30 day payments regime for all businesses.

“This issue is vitally important to Irish SMEs but continues to be ignored by Government agencies.

"The voluntary ‘Fair Pay Code’ and Prompt Payment Portal introduced this year have not been properly promoted by Government and are currently having little or no effect on the culture of late payments,” said ISME chief executive, Mark Fielding.


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