• Unemployed figures still too high. • Loose talk on wage rates sabotaging jobs growth. • Taoiseach must rein in ‘auction politics’ ministers.
ISME, Wednesday 4th February 2015.
ISME, the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association, welcomed the drop in unemployment figures for January, released by the CSO today (4th February) but cautioned Government that the creation of jobs was being impeded by loose talk and promises of wage increases from Ministers more intent on re-election than economic stability. The Association called on the Taoiseach to rein in the guilty Ministers and insist on restraint in announcements which negatively affect job creation.
The latest seasonally adjusted Live Register figures confirm that while employment is rising, 360,200people are still signing on the dole. Long-term claimants still account for 46% of the total and the standardised unemployment rate has decreased slightly to 10.5%.
ISME CEO, Mark Fielding, commented on the current jobs situation, “two thirds of all jobs are created by SMEs in a growing economy. The key issue for business is cost and nothing stops job creation as fast as a threat of wage increases. Why then are we bombarded by pronouncements of expectations of increases in minimum wage from a Minister tasked with assisting business, when the main focus should be jobs?”
“The Action Plan for Jobs contains many measures that will be of benefit to SMEs but lacks the truly disruptive reforms to tackle the key issues of business costs and competitiveness. Unemployment is certainly decreasing slowly but the fact remains that far too many people rely on social welfare and many long-term claimants are in danger of becoming unemployable. SMEs want to grow their business and create jobs but they are in dire need of a reduced cost base in order to do this.”
The Association called on the Government to:
• Reduce government influenced business costs to below the EU average.
• Ensure real measurable access to credit for viable SMEs.
• Outsource more state sector services to SMEs.
• Reform the social welfare system to make it more profitable to work.
• Expand the export capacity of the SME sector through soft supports.
• Attack the scourge of ever-increasing black economy activity.
“The creation of expectation of public sector and minimum wage increases and the introduction of paternity leave have all the hallmarks of politicians wishing to buy the election with taxpayers money. Let there be no doubt, they are sabotaging job creation and the Taoiseach must exercise control over his Ministers and stop the auction politics“, concluded Fielding.