‘SMEs to create 20,000 jobs’

Small businesses in Ireland will generate 20,000 jobs in 2013 with the right environment, the chairman of the Small Firms’ Association, AJ Noonan predicts.

In his end-of-year statement, Mr Noonan said: “Ireland’s small business sector is deeply embedded in the Irish economy; it is now time to put jobs and small business at the centre of everything.

“With the right environment small businesses in Ireland will generate 20,000 jobs in 2013.

Mr Noonan put forward a three-point plan to achieve this aim: Making SMEs and job creation the leitmotif of government policy; increasing credit availability to SMEs and financing facilities to support expansion and improve cashflow; and no additional costs on employment in 2013.

Mr Noonan said tackling unemployment is a key challenge facing Ireland

“This needs to be reflected in the measures to support SMEs,” he said. “However, if both Government and agencies are forthright in their ambition to create jobs then they must do everything to reduce the cost of employment in 2013.

“When employment costs rise small firms are less likely to take on new staff. The small business sector is the engine of the economy and it is vital that Government does not undermine its ability to drive growth and create jobs.”

“Government measures taken since 2010 have already added over €660m per annum to labour costs, through employer PRSI changes, pensions levy and most recently the changes to the redundancy rebate. The cumulative impact of this has been a 1.4% increase in labour costs, while, at the same time, both employers and staff in the vast majority of companies have taken pay cuts.”

Mr Noonan acknowledged that this has been a very difficult time for small businesses, with entrepreneurship undergoing reassessment.

“In 2013, we must place small businesses at the heart of economic policy. Small businesses are the drivers of innovation,” he said.

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