Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs and Enterprise Dara Calleary has accused the Government of failing to prioritise the needs of small businesses and firms that continue to be starved of credit by a banking sector not fit for purpose in assisting economic recovery.
Deputy Calleary was commenting after the Government failed to pass or even publish proposed reforms to the Credit Guarantee Scheme in the last Dáil session. Deputy Calleary has called on Minister Richard Bruton to ensure it is prioritised in the coming weeks.
Deputy Calleary commented: “The Government has been promising for months to reform the Credit Guarantee Scheme, which is particularly relevant to the manufacturing sector, but has fundamentally failed to deliver. Many businesses, taking the Government at their word, now start the new year on the back foot. And we still don’t know when or if the Government will bring forward the necessary reforms to improve credit access. Major changes are needed because the banking sector is still failing to support economic recovery.
“The Government’s own strategy for manufacturing published in April 2013 identified an additional 20,000 jobs that could be created in the sector by 2016. However, only a year away from that target the Government will not say how many jobs have been specifically created in this area or how close it is to meeting the targets. Access to credit is hugely important for businesses in manufacturing, dealing with suppliers and distributors, and a lack of credit means less opportunities to grow and create jobs.
“Figures from the IDA and Enterprise Ireland show over 211,000 people are directly employed in the manufacturing sector but this is still substantially below where we need to be and what can be sustained by the sector in Ireland. In order to achieve the necessary employment growth we need to remove barriers for employers and start-ups and improve incentives and strategic supports, including a more robust Credit Guarantee Scheme.”