SMALL businesses will be able to get all their annual licences in one place by the end of next year, under new plans outlined by the Government.
Almost every business has to get multiple licences to operate legally in the country. But only a few can be applied for and received in one go. Most have to be dealt with separately, adding what is seen as an unnecessary administrative burden to small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Yesterday however, Jobs and Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton and Small Business Minister John Perry said they had been cleared by Cabinet to enact a number of recommendations by Forfas to slash the number of licences a business will need to get.
Forfas looked at 159 licences, including manufacturing, food and drink, retail, hospitality, waste management, haulage and construction.
The advisory agency believes the number of permits can be cut by a third, and a further 20 licences can be removed or amalgamated.
The Government plans to introduce a "one stop shop" for applying for licences online, including the harmonisation of registration and renewal dates. The retail licensing systems will also be integrated, bringing together some 50 licences.
Mr Bruton said the plan was part of a strategy to "reduce red tape" for small businesses.
"It will mean significant savings in terms of time and costs for many hard-pressed businesses and entrepreneurs across the country, which will help more of them start-up, survive, grow, and ultimately protect and create more jobs.
"I am determined this initiative will be extended to other key sectors of the economy along with other measures to reduce the total burden of licensing," he added.
Forfas boss Martin Shanahan said "licencing is recognised as essential by business, but that the burden associated with many licences is high".