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"Loose talk" of higher pay from the Government not helpful, says business group

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association’s (ISME) estimate that the SME sector could create 60,000 jobs in 2015.

Image: Shutterstock/Nomad_Soul

A LEADING BUSINESS group has called for less “loose talk” about higher pay from the Government.

The Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association’s (ISME) has also said that it hopes to see reform of the social welfare system and a focus on the ‘Black economy’ in 2015 – with the hope that such moves will bring more jobs.

Speaking earlier in the month, super-junior Minister Ged Nash gave indications that the minimum wage was set to be reexamined and potentially increased - with members being sought for a new ‘Low Pay Commission’.

The Government were also called on to expand the export capacity of the SME sector and to outsource more state sector services to SMEs.

This follows results from the Irish Small and Medium enterprises Association’s (ISME) Quarterly Business Trends Survey show that positive trends continued into the fourth quarter of 2015.

Jobs

While calling for the Government to do more, the group was optimistic about potential growth in the sector.

In the new study, 12 indicators of economic growth to make predictions about the forthcoming economic conditions for business owners around the country.

Of the 12, only one showed a slight decrease while the others marked continued positive progress from the second and third quarters of 2014.

This led to the prediction that a potential net 60,000 jobs could be created in 2015.

Retail

One sector that suffered in the final quarter of 2014 was retail. It was found that nine out of 10 of those in the sector made more negative moves in comparison with those in other sectors.

Despite this, a net 30% of those in the sector invested in their businesses in the period – up from 18% in the previous quarter.

Speaking about the modest impact of the Christmas period on retailers in the study, Mark Fielding, chief executive of the ISME said:

The usual cheerleading from the big retailer groups pushing an increase in consumer spend is to be ignored once again as SME retailers, with a keener and more honest assessment, expect a much smaller increase in trade in the Christmas period.

Tthe study was conducted in mid-December and saw 952 SME respondents. More than half of respondents employ fewer than 10 people, 38% employ between 11 and 50 and 4% between 51 and 250.

Read: Tourists spent an average of €479 each in Ireland this year

Also: Wetherspoons to open 30 new Irish pubs

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