Small Business Strategy mooted to provide roadmap for SMEs
A national Small Business Strategy is necessary to “create a supportive environment for small businesses”, according to Sven Spollen-Behrens, director of the Small Firms Association (SFA).
Mr Spollen-Behrens spoke at the launch of the SFA’s new campaign: “A Supportive Tax Environment for Small Firms” and insisted the best way to move “towards significant policy goals” is to create a “roadmap” that underpins and promotes small firms that are the foundation of the Irish economy.
“The SFA is calling for a whole-of-government national Small Business Strategy, with a roadmap towards significant policy goals: increased productivity, export diversification etc,” said Spollen-Behrens.
“Despite the recently announced tax changes in Budget 2019, additional changes to our tax policies would support the achievement of these goals”.
Mr Spollen-Behrens believes changes to Ireland’s tax policy for small firms would “have a very significant impact on several areas affecting Irish small and indigenous businesses”; most notably investment, expansion and attracting new talent.
As part of ten “key recommendations” for tax policies to support Ireland’s small business community, the SFA believes the government should consider cutting the existing capital gains tax rate of 33% immediately to 28% and then to 20%, in line with the OECD average.
It also recommends increasing the lifeline limit of €1m for Entrepreneur Relief instantly to at least €5m and €15m in the longer term; and to create a “new talent regime” for small firms, enabling them to hire skilled, talented professionals beyond Ireland’s borders to help them grow.
Sue O’Neill, chair of the SFA, revealed this week that an “incredible 71%” of small firms in Ireland will employ additional staff in the next 12 months.
However, O’Neill reiterated the comments from Mr Spollen-Behrens by insisting that small employers still need support to mould a culture and a coherent framework that underpins the success of all small firms across Ireland.
“In 1958, government focused its efforts on a strategy to bring foreign direct investment to Ireland,” said O’Neill.
“Clearly, this proved very successful and is still evolving. Similarly, now we need a long-term strategic vision for small business that all of us, including the whole of government, businesses and communities, can get behind.”