23 Jan 2020 | 01.02 pm
Martin Promises SME Task Force
Startup goodies promised in manifesto
23 Jan 2020 | 01.02 pm
An SME task force, insurance reform including legislation to cut insurance fraud, and an extra €100m in funding for third-level education were all on Micheál Martin’s list of business-friendly promises at a Dublin Chamber breakfast this morning.
The Fianna Fail leader also ruled out any return to tax incentives for property developers, and took a swipe at Sinn Féin and the left, saying they “spewed out negative hostility” to the multinational firms that underpin the Irish economy.
His three themes at the breakfast event covered taxation and economic management, supporting SMEs, and competitiveness and cutting the costs of doing business.
Martin stated: “The SME sector must be radically supported so that our domestic enterprises can grow and become the powerhouse of the economy into the future. In the 1950s, Seán Lemass set out a radical plan for increased FDI that has benefited the economy to the present day.
“Irish small businesses now require the same strategic focus to be set out in a national SME masterplan. Tomorrow, we will also outline detailed plans on specific supports that will further incentivise SME startups and scaling up of existing enterprises.”
Martin called for a a new visionary long-term strategic blueprint to recast SME policy. “I can confirm that if we are in a position to do so, Fianna Fáil will establish a SME Growth Taskforce comprised of department representatives, enterprise agencies and SME stakeholders to design a National SME Master Plan,” he stated.
“This will incorporate the best elements of the OECD roadmap on SME and entrepreneurship policy. It will also set out targets to augment small business growth as well as improving startup rates, productivity rates; and R&D business activity.”
He told his audience that in government he would continue to pursue several pieces of insurance reform that Fianna Fail had put forward in the Dail but “which were unfortunately blocked”, aimed at cutting insurance fraudsters and exaggerated claims.
The FF leader revealed that the party manifesto being unveiled on Friday will include a pledge to extend the ECCE childcare scheme from 38 to 40 weeks, increasing the National Childcare Scheme from €20 to €80 per week, regulating au pairs and also introducing a tax credit for parents who use registered child minders.
He stated: “The core pillars for a successful Dublin and a successful country remain those outlined by Seán Lemass – a pro-enterprise policy, investment in education at all levels, being open to the world, investment in social supports, and development of critical infrastructure.
“I believe that this is a defining moment for our capital and our country. One thing we know for sure is that the blockages we see everywhere simply have to be overcome. We need a new urgency and active engagement – not a complacency which waits for issues to become a crisis before they are addressed.”
Pix: Jason Clarke