The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME ) has reiterated its call for lower business costs as a means of reducing unemployment.
While welcoming recent figures showing a reduction of 44,356 in the number of people on the Live Register, the association has reiterated its view that more could be done to reduce the number of long term claimants.
ISME CEO, Neil McDonnell, said: “Excessive business overheads are impacting businesses. While the cost of labour is the largest business cost, other expenditure such as rents, insurance, finance, rates, and transport continue to rise, which are not justified.”
The ISME has provided a list of examples to convey this point, including: bank interest in Ireland is twice the Euro-area average; Ireland pays the second highest minimum wage in Europe; Irish businesses have experienced insurance increases upwards of 30 per cent; legal costs are excessive in Ireland and are uncontrolled.
The association is calling on the Government to: reduce Government influenced business costs to below the EU average; target capital investment in job-rich infrastructure; outsource more State sector services to SMEs and introduce social and macro-economic considerations to public procurement; reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work and avoid poverty traps.
“Government must grasp the linkage between business costs and jobs. Excessive business costs hamper potential employment,” Mr McDonnell concluded.