Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath TD has said that figures released in response to Parliamentary Questions shows that the Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (EIIS) designed to assist SMEs in finding investment is growing more complex and more bureaucratic.

Commenting on the figures, Deputy McGrath has said, “the current maze of bureaucracy risks undermining the EII Scheme and risks turning away viable and ambitious SMEs which are determined to grow into long lasting and profitable businesses.

“The EII Scheme replaced the Business Expansion Scheme in 2011 and offers tax relief for those investing in young and growing SMEs.  For the SMEs themselves, it is a vital selling point when approaching outside investors to put capital into the company for it to grow.

“Late last year, the Government concluded that the Scheme as it was currently constructed contravened European rules.  It is now clear that changes introduced to the scheme late last year has contributed to the Scheme becoming overly complex and drawn out.

“In July of last year there were 88 outstanding applications.  This jumped considerably in August to 164 and peaked in October at 277.  As of March of this year 180 applications remain outstanding.  Data also suggests that the number of applications made in the first quarter of this year could be down on last year with just 36 companies applying for the scheme.

“The Government needs to urgently address the underlying issues involving the EII Scheme or they risk undermining it for good.  This cannot be allowed to happen at such a critical juncture for SMEs in this country with Brexit just around the corner.  They need to hire extra staff within the Revenue Commissioner so that the outstanding cases are dealt with efficiently and the underlying complexity needs to be tackled,” concluded McGrath.