The Small Firms Association (SFA) has published its official Small Business Manifesto, a dossier of reforms to improve the climate for small businesses to thrive in Ireland ahead of the 2020 General Election.
Within the manifesto, the SFA reiterates that the country’s small business community, which makes up 98% of businesses employing half of Ireland’s private sector workforce, requires a focused and coherent strategy to deal with the economic challenges ahead.
The publication sees the SFA lead the calls for reforms to commercial rates, an improved tax environment, as well as improved access to upskilling to enhance the flexibility and agility of small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) workforces.
It also magnifies the issue of rising employer and public liability insurance, which is another millstone cost around the necks of small business owners.
Ahead of this year’s General Election, the SFA recommends any prospective government to place renewed focus on indigenous small firms, in the same way the last government has supported the nation’s most successful multinationals.
Graham Byrne, chairman, SFA, warned of declining confidence among Ireland’s small business community, with uncertainty surrounding Brexit and the global economy still rumbling on.
Mr Byrne added that, due to this uncertainty, the next government should do everything it can to curb increases to operational costs for start-ups and successful sole traders. Whilst simultaneously implementing a domestic technology strategy, namely the National Broadband Plan.
“We are urging every party and candidate contesting the 2020 General Election to listen to, and make every effort to understand, the challenges faced by small firms in the communities they hope to represent,” said Byrne.
“The next government, whatever its makeup, must put small business at the heart of its policies by supporting their transition to a low-carbon economy, addressing issues such as childcare, housing, transport links and investing more ambitiously in entrepreneurship.”