Problems in SME sector to be tackled
THE Government has set up a new advisory group to address issues in the small business sector.
The Small Business Advisory Group (SBAG) will be chaired by Minister of State for Small Business John Perry with the aim of "facilitating structured and regular dialogue" between the Government and most SME trade bodies.
The group will not have to submit a final report but will be allowed to raise "issues of concern" to the minister and to make recommendations. Those recommendations are expected to focus on government-controlled expenses, such as local authority charges.
The SBAG includes representatives from ISME, the SFA, Chambers Ireland and the Irish Hotels Federation. Representatives from government think-tank Forfas and Credit Review Officer John Trethowan are also included.
Mr Perry said the group was intended to boost the SME sector, which played a "crucial" role in the Irish economy.
The initiative was welcomed by SFA director Patricia Callan, but she warned an expanded loan guarantee scheme was needed for the sector.