Friday 19 January 2018

Firms to make more job cuts as confidence drops

Colm Kelpie

Colm Kelpie

A QUARTER of businesses expect to have to make further job cuts with confidence among owners deteriorating.

A survey by the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) found global uncertainty and a slowdown in the UK market were hindering export growth.

The third SME business trends survey concluded that just 14pc of businesses expect to employ more staff.

ISMA chief Mark Fielding called for three-quarters of the €3.5bn budget target to come from spending cuts.

"The foolhardy pre-election promises from the current Government that they would 'fix' the economy are now starting to sound very hollow with the word 'failure' being used more and more," Mr Fielding said.

"The danger is that cracks will begin to appear in the coalition structure as harsh decisions must be made, which may frighten the Labour side, as already aptly demonstrated in the 'public sector perks and allowances' fiasco."

The survey was carried out at the end of September with more than 800 SMEs, giving a response rate of 17pc. Exports have been rising since the spring of 2009 and reached a peak in the first three months of the year. But ISME pointed out that continued global uncertainty has driven figures down.

Mr Fielding demanded that the Government take action in reducing business-related costs, reforming the social welfare system and tackling public sector wages.

"The commitment to two-thirds cuts and one-third taxation should be revised to 75pc cuts, 25pc taxation increase, which will bring economic stability faster," he said. "Further cuts must be introduced in social security and welfare payments, which will not alone reduce costs but make it more profitable to work."

Irish Independent

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