SMEs ‘losing patience’ with Government over supports

Mark Fielding

Small and medium businesses are increasingly dissatisfied with the Government and its support of SMEs, according to a new report.

The latest Government Satisfaction Survey from the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Isme) shows businesses are less satisfied in the second quarter of the year with every issue facing their business. The areas of greatest dissatisfaction are high business costs and banking issues.

Firms operating in the sector have lost patience with a distracted government, according to Isme chief executive, Mark Fielding, who said: “These current figures are not a surprise, as the SME sector has lost patience with an administration which has lost focus, distracted by their own internal political machinations.

“The sooner the reshuffle, the sooner we can have a government re-focused on the economy, and the continuing battle for recovery and growth,” said Mr Fielding.

The overall government rating has slipped by nine points from -32 to -41; the lowest level since the third quarter of last year.

Micro businesses — those with fewer than 10 employees and turnover of less than €2m — and medium enterprises, which employ between 50 and 249 people, showed the greatest levels of dissatisfaction, while businesses classified as ‘small’ bucked the trend, posting a 10-point improvement compared to the first quarter of the year.

The construction and hospitality sectors were most dissatisfied, while retail satisfaction improved. Manufacturing, services and distribution remained largely unchanged.

Satisfaction with the Government’s jobs initiatives remained strong in the second quarter, despite slipping marginally.

The same cannot be said of the issue of business costs however, which saw a huge increase in dissatisfaction — 26 points — among small businesses.

“The restoration of competitiveness through prudent cost control and the access to bank credit for SMEs must be two government priorities,” added Mr Fielding.


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