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The SFA wants the Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Jobs Minister Richard Bruton to put their heads together on policies which support SMEs. Niall Carson/PA Wire

Small and medium businesses could* deliver 20,000 jobs

The Small Firms Association makes optimistic prediction for 2013 – *but only if SMEs are “placed at the heart of economic policy”.

SMALL AND MEDIUM-sized businesses are the key to major jobs growth in the new year – but only if they are given the right conditions to survive and grow.

That is the prediction from the Small Firms Association. Its chairman AJ Noonan said that if 2013 saw small businesses placed at the heart of economic policy, it could lead to the creation of 20,o00 new jobs in the the coming year.

He said:

Small businesses are the drivers of innovation and a permanent source of prosperity, employment and economic progress. Despite the horrendous impact in the years since 2008, there are still 200,000 small firms in Ireland, employing 655,000 people and 12,000 new businesses being set up each year. Entrepreneurship is alive and well, but must be nurtured and developed with a renewed focus from both agencies and Government.

Noonan is proposing a “three-point plan” for the Government for the new year:

  1. Making SMEs and job creation the leitmotif of Government policy
  2. Increase credit availability to SMEs and financing facilities to support expansion and improve cashflow
  3. No additional costs to employment in 2013.

The SFA maintains that policies pursued by government since 2010 have added €660 million per annum to labour costs (through changes to employer PRSI, pensions levy, and changes to the redundancy rebate).

Column: Self-employed people need a safety net too>

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