Fine Gael on Small and Medium Enterprises

3,000 companies bust since ‘09 under FF/Martin – Bruton

With more than 3,000 companies bust since 2009, Micheál Martin’s pledge today (Monday) to support small businesses is little more than a joke, according to Fine Gael Enterprise Spokesman Richard Bruton.

“Fianna Fáil has destroyed the economy, shut small businesses out of the closed circle Partnership process and more than doubled the number of people out of work. So it’s ludicrous for Micheál Martin to suddenly decide that small businesses deserve ‘a special emphasis’.

“Why didn’t Micheál Martin do more for SMEs when he was Minister for Enterprise? Instead, Ireland’s small businesses have endured 14 years of rising business costs, growing reams of red tape, and a Government which simply wouldn’t listen to their needs.

“Micheál Martin’s Government also performed a U-turn on plans for a loan guarantee scheme for SMEs.

“And his job-creation statistics must be scrutinised very carefully. Between 2000 and 2009, companies supported by the enterprise agencies created 278,000 new jobs, but lost 300,000 over the same period, leaving us with 22,000 fewer people at work.

“Some 3,027 businesses have become insolvent since 2009. During that same period, 115,000 more people joined the live register. And the unemployment rate has tripled since this Government came to office, from 4.5% to 13.4%.

“Fine Gael is the only party to put SMEs first. We are committed to a loan guarantee scheme for viable small businesses. Other policies include:

• Test the constitutionality of removing upward only rent reviews;
• Halve employers’ PRSI for low paid jobs for three years;
• Cut the lower rate of VAT from 13.5% to 12% for a period of three years;
• Freeze local commercial rates;
• Introduce a temporary partial loan guarantee for businesses that will start to get credit flowing to viable businesses in a way that NAMA never did;
• Set up a €100 million micro finance fund for new start-up companies.”