Business Costs score highest negative figure of -68%.
Banking issues are major dissatisfaction at -64%.
Improvement in Jobs rating to -21%
ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, has released today (7th April) its Government Satisfaction ratings from its survey of over 1,000 SMEs. The combined satisfaction rating has deteriorated slightly to -32 from -30 in December 2013. The Association drew attention to the fact that while the Jobs rating is improving, mainly due to SME recruitment, the Government’s efforts on costs and in particular on banking are unsatisfactory, reflected in recent reports from National Competitiveness Council on costs and the ISME Bankwatch survey.
Commenting on the survey, ISME CEO, Mark Fielding stated, “Recent modest improvements in job figures are noted, however the continuing creep of business costs and the lack of adequate bank credit have negatively impacted on the overall rating. This is starkly reflected in the Retail response, with the highest dissatisfaction figures noted in 15 months”.
“The indicators show how SMEs rate the government in the first quarter of 2014, with the highest dissatisfaction being shown for the government’s handling of the business costs and a deterioration in the score for banking issues, a quick answer to Minister Noonan for prematurely scrapping the lending targets for the bailed-out banks, in January”.
COMBINED RATING -32
The overall satisfaction rating, has dis-improved to -32 from -30. Micro enterprises at -41 are the least satisfied however the drop of 26 and 18 points for medium and small enterprises must be a warning to Government on their main issues of costs and banking. As expected the Retail sector is the least satisfied at -54, a full 10 points drop in three months. Service and distribution -35 each are the most satisfied, however distribution is the only sector to have improved in the quarter. To view graph click here. JOBS RATING -21
The satisfaction rating on the Government’s Jobs initiatives shows an improvement of 3 points from -24 to -21. The recent announcements on unemployment and overall job figures will have boosted this rating. Again Retail, at -45 is by far the least satisfied with the jobs situation, with more than twice the general dissatisfaction, while distribution is the most satisfied at -7. BANKING -65
The banking score has increased to -65 from -61. This rating is a reflection of the dropping of the lending targets for SMEs by Government in January and an increase in refusals for loans reported in the ISME Bank Watch survey of two weeks ago.
Once more the highest negative score of -75 was in this category from the distribution sector, closely followed by construction at -73. All categories of micro, small and medium businesses score very high dissatisfaction ratings in this category, a clear signal to Government that their efforts are not having the desired effect on the rescued banks. Small businesses were most dissatisfied at -70, micro business at -65 and medium at -48. BUSINESS COSTS -68
This indicator has improved by a single point from -69 to -68 but remains the most negative finding in this quarter’s survey, with small business suffering most and scoring a -75, a deterioration of 13 points. Medium business scored a -48, a nine point drop from the -39 in Q4, 2014.
The retail trade continues to suffer most with a score of -79 reflecting the lack of any government initiative to tackle issues such as legacy leases and energy costs. Hospitality at -78 are the next least satisfied.
“Government must tackle the key issues of business costs and bank credit and prioritise the restoration of our competitiveness. All costs, including public sector and legacy business costs must be benchmarked against our immediate international competitors. We must also expose sheltered sectors to greater competition in an effort to reduce all business costs and increase competitiveness for Irish SMEs,” Fielding concluded.