Business Costs score highest negative figure of -58.
Banking issues show improvement, while still negative at -47.
Jobs rating improves from -24 to -9.
ISME, Monday 13th October 2014.
At the launch today (13th October) of the latest Government Satisfaction Survey, ISME, the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association, called on Government to address the continuing increases in business costs which are negatively affecting SMEs and holding back the recovery. The indicators all show positive improvements in line with the general consensus that the economy is slowly working its way back to growth. The Association warned of any relaxation in the drive for productivity gains in the public sector in the long lead up to the next election.
Commenting on the survey, ISME CEO, Mark Fielding stated, “The figures reflect increased satisfaction levels amongst SME owner-managers with the Government’s performance. However, this is no excuse for Government complacency as the figures are largely still negative. Budget 2015 is an opportunity for Government to build on this improvement, not through the popularity-politics of giveaway budgets that we have seen in the past, but through sustainable and innovative policies which will improve competitiveness.”
“While there have been improvements in all ratings in this quarter the dissatisfaction with Government’s handling of business costs continues to be the greatest for the fourth consecutive quarter. Much more must be done to curtail in inexorable rise of state induced business costs. The fact that inflation figures are so low gives a false impression of business costs and less incentive to take any action. A perfect example of this is the delay in addressing legal fees through legislation, which is being stalled by the usual suspects, the highly paid lawyers.
COMBINED RATING -4 (-41)
The overall satisfaction rating improved from -41% to -4%. This is a very significant improvement in Government Satisfaction levels. Small businesses are the least satisfied at -58% while medium sized businesses are satisfied at 8%. Manufacturing is the least satisfied sector at -28%. However, all sectors recorded improvements in their satisfaction levels.
JOBS RATING -9 (-24)
The satisfaction rating on the Government’s Jobs initiatives has improved from -24% to -9%, in a priority area for Government. The introduction of a business stimulus package in the upcoming budget would boost job creation and increase satisfaction ratings for this indicator.
BANKING -47 (-66)
The banking score has increased from -66 to -47. This is a reflection of the slight improvements SMEs have seen in accessing bank finance as reported in the ISME Bank Watch survey for Q3. Small businesses are again the least satisfied grouping with a dissatisfaction rating of -53. All categories of micro, small and medium businesses score very high dissatisfaction ratings in this category, a clear signal to Government that their efforts in relation to bank finance must be improved.
BUSINESS COSTS -58 (-69)
This indicator has improved from -69 to -58 but is still the highest dissatisfaction with government efforts. The issue of high business costs is a key concern for ISME members and the Association is calling Government to address this competitiveness issue immediately.
The construction and Hospitality sectors are particularly dissatisfied with cost ratings of -67 and -63 respectively.
ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT +6 (-33)
The respondents were asked for their rating for ‘economic management post Troika’. The rating improved from -33 to +6 in this quarter, a reflection of the general positive economic feeling.
“The Budget on the 14th October will give the Government an opportunity to tackle the issues affecting SME business, namely costs and bank credit availability. We must benchmark our business costs against our international competitors and then strive to reduce them. Only then will our competitiveness be increased and jobs will be created”, concluded Fielding.