ISME: Make high business costs an election priority

22nd February 2016

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has called on the nation’s candidates in the upcoming election to make the issue of high business costs and the resulting diminishing of business competitiveness a key priority within their manifesto for government.

The Association has voiced concerns regarding state-imposed costs and the ‘unwarranted and unsustainable’ wage expectations being promoted by those politicians seeking re-election.

Last month the change in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 0.1 per cent in the year and -0.8 per cent in the month; and the Association wants the Government to address the costs over which they have influence and ensure all state-influenced costs are benchmarked and pegged to like-for-like costs internationally.

Mark Fielding, chief executive, ISME, said: “There has been a large amount of discussion concerning protecting SMEs and creating a pro-enterprise culture as part of the rhetoric of the current general election campaign.

“However, politicians are ignoring the issue of high business costs which is a critical problem for business. Cost creep has been a significant issue in the past twelve months as businesses have seen dramatic increases in insurance, wage costs, energy, legal fees and transport.

“Regaining price and labour competitiveness needs to be a priority for Ireland in order to achieve an export led recovery.

“ISME is calling on the next government to conduct a root and branch review of business costs, particularly state-influenced ones, and then take the necessary steps to reduce them.

“The new governing politicians must understand that Ireland is quickly losing the small gains it has made in terms of cost competitiveness. This will have an adverse effect on exports, foreign direct investment, indigenous growth and the continued recovery in 2016.”

The Association also believes the new government should use its tax system to facilitate and promote better job creation, whilst reducing public sector costs through targeted private sector outsourcing.

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