Waterford Fianna Fáil TD Mary Butler calls for need to tackle excessive costs for SMEs

Waterford Live Reporter

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Waterford Fianna Fáil TD and chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Butler says a new report demonstrates the need for Government to do more to tackle rising costs for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The ‘Report on the Cost of Doing Business’ was published following a year of fact-finding and makes dozens of recommendations aimed at ensuring unnecessary costs are minimised.

“As chairperson of the Oireachtas Business committee I am acutely aware of the difficulties facing SMEs. These companies are the bedrock of the Irish economy. As a small, open economy prone to external volatility we rely on our SMEs being able to complete internationally and at home. The increasing cost of doing business threatens this competitiveness and that is why the committee decided to examine this issue with the view to bringing forward proposals to tackle the rising cost of doing business.

“The report highlights how SMEs are the most affected companies by the increasing cost of doing business in Ireland. Increases in their costs can threaten the viability of the business, which puts jobs and investment at risk. Entrepreneurs who found and run small businesses assume all the risk and staying in business with all the associated start-up costs can be difficult," continues Deputy Butler. 

“Our report puts forward a number of practical proposals to help reduce the running costs for SMEs. It proposes an overhaul to the manner in which compensation awards are made to ensure they do not exceed guidelines. It also proposes the establishment of an insurance fraud taskforce within An Garda Siochana to tackle fictitious claims.

“The report also notes that Irish banks charge much higher interest rates and account charges than in other EU countries. We have proposed for the Central Bank to undertake a campaign to drive down these unnecessary charges.

“There are also a number of significant proposals surrounding the need to ensure skills gaps in the labour force are reduced. For example, the apprenticeship programmes need to be expanded significantly to boost the supply of skilled workers,” adds Deputy Butler.