Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Small Business, John McGuinness TD, says yesterday’s Budget announcements do nothing to help the Small and Medium Size Enterprises (SME) sector.

Deputy McGuinness stated that despite a number of measures introduced at the Budget to try and stimulate the SME sector, no real difference will be made to smaller SMEs.

“The suite of measures introduced in the Budget by the Government does not help SMEs and they do not recognise the huge difficulties that are facing the retail sector,” said Deputy McGuinness.

“There is also no attempt to tackle the huge problem of upward only rent reviews and there are no efforts to reform the outdated rates system. Retailers are struggling to make ends meet and in many cities and towns throughout the country, they are restricted by rental agreements that have not taken into account the harsh economic times we are in. These are the real issues facing SMEs all over the country every day and the Government has failed to address them in any credible manner. Unfortunately, the various initiatives put forward by the Government are not all they are cracked up to be.

“The Government has also abolished the redundancy rebate, which may force many struggling companies to go under. It means that the cost of redundancy has now risen by a massive 150% in one year, how can the Government on one hand say they are trying to stimulate growth in the SME sector and make it so difficult for companies to operate on the other?

“The cuts in private sector pension reliefs are also an anti-SME measure. This will only serve to increase the pressure on employers’ wage costs and negatively impact on future retirement savings. Doubling the PRSI contribution for the self-employed will also dissuade people setting up their own companies, which will drive growth in the economy.”