Ireland is a high cost location for small firms according to Assistant Director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), Linda Barry.
Ms Barry stated that labour costs, insurance and Local Authority rates are at the focal point of the problem and the Government must be obsessive about cost competitiveness in context of Brexit.
Addressing the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation yesterday, Ms Barry said:
“Ireland is a high cost location for entrepreneurs and established businesses. Many SFA members operate in low margin environments, making it difficult for them to absorb cost increases. Meanwhile, low inflation and customers’ demand for value make it impossible for many businesses to pass cost increases on.”
She went on to add that SFA members consider labour costs to be the number one risk to their businesses for the coming year.
“Our members have identified labour costs as the number one risk to their businesses over the coming year. The other costs causing greatest concern are insurance costs, which are still rising for many businesses, and Local Authority rates.”
Assistant Directory Barry concluded with:
“The Government has access to detailed data and expert analysis on all of these costs, in particular from the National Competitive Council. The SFA is calling on Government to create a stronger link between this information and policy decisions, to ensure that Government is not adding to cost pressures on small businesses.”
The SFA is the trusted partner of over 8,500 small businesses in Ireland.
According to the SFA, 98% of all businesses in Ireland are small firms (less than 50 employees) and one in every two people working in the private sector is employed by a small business.
They account for one third of the value of the Irish economy and of business investment. Small firms are also key to the vibrancy of our regions, as they represent more than half of total employment in 21 counties.