Friday 20 October 2017

Business owners say minimum wage reversal was a mistake

Louise McBride

Louise McBride

Almost six out of 10 business owners believe the Government's decision to reverse the cut in the minimum wage was a mistake, according to the Sunday Independent Business Owners' Survey.

In a bid to bolster competitiveness, the minimum wage, which now stands at €8.65 an hour, had been cut to €7.65 an hour earlier this year by the then government. The rate reverted back to €8.65 an hour earlier this month.

The reversal in the minimum wage cut comes at a time when staff costs are the biggest thorn in the side of Irish business owners. One in three entrepreneurs polled said that staff costs were the biggest issue facing their business. It's no surprise, therefore, that 26pc of those surveyed expect to cut staff numbers this year, while only 13pc expect to take on more staff. About six out of 10 entrepreneurs hope to hold on to their current staff this year.

With retailers seeing their sales dive for the 40th month in a row last June, consumer confidence is still at record lows. As a result, poor consumer sentiment is wreaking havoc with Irish business owners -- about one in four cited it as their biggest worry.

That worry is unlikely to go away any time soon thanks to the harsh cutbacks expected in the upcoming Budget and the country's stark 14.3pc unemployment rate. About one in five business owners said the biggest issue facing their business was difficulty accessing credit. Rent and red tape, however, are the two issues that are least likely to keep business owners awake at night, according to the survey.

Sunday Indo Business

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