SME sector ‘core of the real economy’ – Doherty
Speaking in the Dáil tonight on the issue of the SME sector and the failure of the government to adequately support them, Sinn Féin TD and Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty criticised the government for over-reliance on the FDI sector and failing to recognise the importance that the SME sector has in local communities.
Deputy Doherty said:
“There can be no recovery without a recovery in our SME sector. 70% of people employed in Ireland and employed in the SME sector. That is an incredible statistic which should place into sharp focus where most workers work.
“Sinn Féin calls for a process where self-employed can voluntarily sign up to the Social Insurance system and avail of jobseeker’s benefit and illness benefit.
“Specifically, we have argued for the abolition of Upwards Only Rents. A more progressive rates system must also be on the table. Nobody can argue that a flat tax on income is equitable yet when it comes to business rates; we expect an SME to pay the same rate as a multinational or a branch of a large supermarket chain.
“These are just some of the proposals we published last year in our proposals ‘Putting SMEs First’.
“It is a characteristic of this economy for decades now that our entire industrial policy is predicated on attracting Foreign Direct Investment to the State. FDI plays a huge and essential role in our economy, but it is only common sense not to put all your eggs into the one basket.
“SMEs, on the other hand, are tied to local community and will remain so. They are the core of the real economy. They are the bedrock on which all economic development has to be built and maintained.”