Giving the keynote address at a Dublin Chamber of Commerce event this morning, the Fianna Fáil Leader Micheál Martin spelled out his Party’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurship in the Capital and around the country.
He pledged his party’s support for the establishment of a Commissioner for Start-Ups and gave a detailed explanation of Fianna Fáil’s approach in the area.
Deputy Martin commented, “We need to start addressing the issue of how we tax individual entrepreneurs. I believe that the vital role they play in our society should be recognised through a series of tax changes which reflect the risks they undertake and the returns they deliver for us all.
“A practical way the state can support entrepreneurs is to reduce the rate of capital gains tax that applies when a successful business is sold .We are proposing a reduction from 33% to 15% for businesses sold up to a maximum of €10 million. This would help create jobs in the SME sector and encourage people to create new businesses.
“We would also expand the credit guarantee scheme and we are committed to reducing the 2% premium charged on loans guaranteed under this scheme. The unfair treatment of the self-employed needs to end by immediately increasing the PRSI benefits for the self-employed. They should be allowed to opt in to the Class A Structure which will allow them to receive job seekers and illness benefits if their business does not work out.
“Another key element of our policy is that over the next three years there would be an earned income tax credit introduced for the self-employed to the PAYE tax credit value of €1,650. This would cost €450 million when fully implemented. We also believe that the 3% surcharge on the high income self-employed should be phased out over time so as to equalise the application of the USC to PAYE for this group.”
Deputy Martin was critical of the behaviour of the banks in dealing with SMEs. He commented, “We also believe that a fully-fledged Enterprise Bank would be a permanent solution to the lending gap that exists in Irish banking sector. This Bank would lend would lend to any company regardless of sector or size provided it can demonstrate its credit worthiness. The lack of start-up or expansion capital remains a big barrier for a lot of businesses. Over the years there have been efforts to kick start the venture capital sector but they have been disjointed and not especially successful. Britain has shown progress in this area and it is one which should be a priority in Ireland’s business policies.”
He concluded, “This Fine Gael / Labour Party Government has talked the talk on supporting entrepreneurship, but it has not delivered. By contrast, the development and support of indigenous entrepreneurs is a key element of Fianna Fáil’s medium term economic and industrial strategy.”