-Increases in rates, VAT and PRSI await local businesses-


Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North, Frank O’Rourke, has called on the Government to place a greater focus on improving policies for SMEs given the uncertainty they are facing in 2019.

Deputy O’Rourke explained, “While we do not know the outcome of Brexit or what will happen once the UK leaves the EU in March, we know that 2019 will bring a lot of pressure to bear on SME’s.

“SME’s account for 91% of all companies in Ireland, they employ in the region of 900,000 people and generate almost half of all revenues. They are the lifeblood of our economy and many of them are feeling overwhelmed.

“From my work on the ground in Kildare North I am acutely aware of the issues that keep SME owners awake at night. From January, the VAT rate for the hospitality and tourism sector will rise to 13.5%; the minimum wage will be increased as will PRSI contributions. Commercial rates have increased exponentially, as have insurance costs and this is creating a very hostile environment for SME’s to operate in.

“I have worked closely with Kildare Chamber and Chambers Ireland and I understand how difficult it is to plan for an unknown outcome especially when there are numerous possibilities. The Government should be doing everything in its power to embolden SME’s not impede them with oppressive rates and taxes.

“As a small open economy prone to external volatility we rely on our SME’s being able to compete internationally and at home. The best way to respond to the challenges of Brexit is to encourage and support a vibrant domestic Irish economy”, concluded Deputy O’Rourke.