Employment

Tipperary in line for jobs as small firms optimistic about 2017

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Tipperary is set for a jobs boost in 2017 as the Small Firms Association expects up to 20,000 new jobs in the sector to be created nationwide over the coming year.

“Domestic economic growth is likely to be around 3.7 per cent in 2017 and our members see this as the biggest opportunity for their business in the coming year. Some 64 per cent of SFA member companies plan to take on additional staff and we estimate that together small businesses will create 20,000 jobs in 2017. These jobs will be in a wide variety of sectors, giving a boost to villages, towns and cities across Ireland," said Sue O’Neill, chair of the Small Firms Association, in the association's end-of-year statement.

However, Ms O'Neill said that in order for this job creation to be realised, concrete steps wereneeded from Government. Competitiveness is all the more critical in light of Brexit and tax competitiveness should be the top priority in the coming year. By creating a real pro-business tax system and making sure that work always pays, employees, small businesses and society as a whole will be better off”, she said.

Among the initiatives being sought by the SFA in 2017 are full equalisation of the Earned Income Tax Credit for the self-employed with the PAYE tax credit, as promised in Budget 2016; increase the entry point to the marginal rate of tax. In Ireland, the marginal rate kicks in at €34,000, while in the UK the top marginal rate only applies from Stg£150,000 – this acts as a barrier to taking on more hours or to taking up a job, especially for second earners in a household; reduction in the marginal rate of tax, with a view to bringing it to 45 per cent over the coming years, and ancrease in the €1m limit for the Entrepreneurial Rate of CGT to €15m.

“The SFA has a vision of Ireland as the most vibrant small business community in the world, supporting entrepreneurship, valuing small business and rewarding risk takers. With a strong Government focus on tax reform and competitiveness, Ireland’s 235,000 small businesses can create 20,000 new jobs in 2017, reinvigorate towns and villages around the country and make a significant contribution to the Irish economy," said Ms O'Neill.

Meanwhile, the chairperson said that 2016 had been a rollercoaster year for small businesses. It began with optimism about the broadening and deepening recovery, but issues such as Brexit and emerging wage demands had shaken business confidence.

Ms O'Neill said that as the year drew to a close, only half of small businesses felt that the business environment was improving.