'Confidential' data a let-down for SME sector
WE'RE frequently told that small and medium enterprises are the backbone of an economy and that they have to be nurtured to ensure they help boost recovery.
Given this importance, the Punt was interested to read the latest statistics from Eurostat on SMEs across Europe, which helps to paint a picture of the sector on a pan-European basis.
It allows those interested to compare how SMEs fare in one European country compared to another.
But the Punt was somewhat confused to find little information available for Ireland, and instead only the letter 'c' for confidential.
It appears that some information, including the percentage of enterprises that can be classed as SME, the numbers employed and the turnover of small and medium businesses, can't be revealed.
Eurostat says it is at the request of the Central Statistics Office (CSO). The CSO says it can't reveal certain information that might identify businesses.
It's a fair argument, but it means the stats from across Europe are meaningless to us.
And that's disappointing given the importance of the sector.