| 5.7°C Dublin

Budget ‘won’t help’ SMEs to survive the winter, says ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton survey

Close

Caitriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland

Caitriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland

Caitriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland

More than two-thirds of Ireland’s SMEs don’t think the Budget did enough to help them survive the winter and 80pc think higher costs will force them to lay off staff in coming months, according to a survey from accountancy body ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton.

The Government’s Budget this week contains a number of measures designed to tackle the worst effects of inflation, especially the soaring cost of energy.

One of the single biggest measures for businesses is the €1.2bn set aside under the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses cope with their energy bills.

For an individual firm, its energy costs must have increased by more than 50pc compared with the same period last year in order to avail of the support. It will give eligible firms funding of up to 40pc of the increase in their energy bill relative to the same period in the previous year, up to a ceiling of €10,000 a month.

But a post-Budget survey by ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton found that 68pc of SMEs don’t think the Budget did enough to help them. And 64pc don’t believe the Budget measures will make any difference in curbing inflation.

The survey of 450 professional accounts who advise more than 10,000 SMEs, found that they think other support measures are needed to help businesses survive. Their wishlist includes more business and energy supports, more tax cuts and an extension of the tax debt warehousing period that was introduced during the pandemic and which is now unwinding.

“SMEs are being hit from every direction with energy, borrowing, supply chain and labour costs all rising concurrently, and this is having a very significant impact on their ability to trade,” said Caitriona Allis, head of ACCA Ireland.

She said the survey conducted this week “reflects those apprehensions and fears” that the business community are facing as they enter a tough trading period.

Ms Allis agreed that many of the measures introduced by the Government in the Budget “can make a material difference” to SMEs as they try to stay afloat while costs rise.

While she welcomed the business energy support scheme, she said it must be delivered quickly and without any administrative burden.

If the Government can cascade these supports to SMEs quickly, I would foresee a number of SMEs being more confident about the next 12 months

The support scheme – set to operate for six months – will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners and will operate on a self-assessment basis.

“If the Government can cascade these supports to SMEs quickly, I would foresee a number of SMEs being more confident about the next 12 months,” said Ms Allis.

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of business.

This field is required

The ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton survey found that 27pc of SMEs are less confident about their prospects for the next 12 months following the Budget. Just 16pc are more confident, while 57pc think their prospects are unchanged.

More than a third of respondents, or 35pc, also stated that in relation to retaining skills in the workforce, that the childcare supports announced will not help to keep skilled workers in full-time employment. The Government has announced it will support a reduction of up to 25pc in the weekly fee for those availing of the National Childcare Scheme.


Most Watched





Privacy