A Country That’s Great For Little Businesses

Tuesday 21st October 2014
This country is run by people who don’t believe in private enterprise or entrepreneurship. That much has been made even clearer by Budget 2015 that imposed extra taxes that no one except the self-employed have to pay and yet self-employed get fewer benefits than anyone else.

This is why you, an owner manager of a small or medium sized business should join ISME. We are the lone voice against this madness. Other industry bodies are part of the social partnership that has helped to cripple this country. We have stood against this so called ‘partnership’ driven by large business and their acquiescent trades unions that have the keen support of governments, too willing to trade economic prudence for an easy electoral life.

There are over 200,000 SMEs in this country. They represent more than 800,000 workers – far, far more people than are trades union members – but sadly it’s the voice of trade unionists and left thinking economists and commentators that a variety of government combinations have chosen to listen to. Had they instead listened to ISME members ‘back then’, without doubt, we would not have suffered the wealth destruction, the emigration and the unemployment, the human suffering, which we have seen over the last seven years.

We had hoped that things might change post-bust and post-Troika but it seems no lessons have been learnt. The tax system is anti-business, nothing has been done by government to get desperately needed capital to drowning businesses and, with an election looming, the public sector unions are beginning to seek either ‘restoration’ of wages cut during the crisis – as if it has magically disappeared, though government is still spending €600m a month it doesn’t have – or more ominously they look for a ‘living wage’.

The living wage is a concoction made up by someone seriously in need of a lesson in Economics. Those in favour of this idea make it sound like being in favour of Santa Claus, all very nice and fuzzy. They argue that a higher wage will be spent locally and therefore businesses will benefit. However, just like Santa Claus, it’s a myth. An uneconomic wage is just that – it’ll force more businesses to shut down with consequent unemployment. And no Santa Claus for the kids.
Ideas such as the ‘living wage’, carefully sugar-coated in spin (after all who could be against a ‘living’ wage, as the alternative suggests death) have got to be resisted and ISME is at the vanguard of that resistance.
We see that as our role. We have over 9,000 members representing 250,000 employees. But we want to double that to 18,000 members with 500,000 employees, because sweet talk does not work with government. Expediency is a politician’s middle name. The greater our strength the more we can do to help all SMEs.

In your business, you don’t expect others to do the heavy lifting. As an entrepreneur that’s in your DNA. ISME is willing to do the heavy lifting but we want your support. Joining our organisation means we can speak for you, put pressure on government to get parity in taxation, to create a real pro-business environment in this country (to paraphrase An Taoiseach we’d like to see ‘a country that’s great for little businesses’) and to get Ireland back to business and Irish people back to work.

The ISME annual conference is on this Friday at the RDS in Dublin. Come along and support us – you’re also supporting yourself. For details see isme.ie