Fianna Fail outlines plans to help small businesses
Banks bailed out by the taxpayer are duty bound to free up credit for small businesses, Fianna Fail has claimed.
Party leader Micheal Martin insisted lenders failing to work with firms should be pursued.
As the election campaign entered its penultimate week, Fianna Fail set out its proposals to boost small firms, promising it would appoint a junior minister for small business.
Mr Martin said: "Fianna Fail's position is simple. If the banks are not working for small business, then it is the responsibility and obligation of the political system to make sure that they do.
"The banks need to be under no illusion that given the support that they have received from the taxpayers of this country, that they have a duty to stand with the community, to show good faith and give credit to businesses that are the lifeblood of job creation in our nation."
Mr Martin said in government Fianna Fail secured a commitment from the banks to give at least €12bn in credit over 2010 and 2011.
But John McGuinness, the party's spokesman on small business, said banks are increasing interest rates on firms and said more needs to be done to ensure credit flows.
Fianna Fail's key policy planks to boost small business include:
- Abiding by the Budget 2011 plan to extend the three-year corporation tax exemption to start-up companies, and to change it to ensure relief is linked to the amount of employers PRSI paid by the company.
- Appoint a Minister of State for Small Businesses.
- Reducing local authority rates to protect jobs. Rate cuts would be financed by finding savings in councils.
- Transforming the Business Expansion Scheme to the Employment and Investment Incentive, revealed in the Four Year Plan. The limit raised by companies under the programme would be raised from €2m to €10m, and from €1.5m to €2.5m in a year.
- Cut the amount of red tape and paperwork small firms have to deal with.
Mr Martin said Fianna Fail was the only political party offering concrete plans to boost employment, claiming small businesses supported 700,000 jobs.