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SME Adviser Body Azets Calls For Cap On National Minimum Wage Hike

By Donna Ahern
SME Adviser Body Azets Calls For Cap On National Minimum Wage Hike

Azets Ireland wants the Government to use the budget to support SMEs facing rising costs of doing business, according to the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA).

Professional services firm Azets Ireland has called for the Government to support small and medium business (SMEs) with the 'increasing cost of doing business', most notably by limiting any rise in the national minimum wage.

Azets Ireland pre-budget submission, published on Monday, focuses on key initiatives to support the 'backbone of the Irish economy', the SME sector which employs more than one million people, accounting for two-thirds of those in the private sector.

It has recommended limiting any increase in the national minimum wage to the rate of inflation prevailing on budget day to help address the increasing cost of doing business.

'Significant Burden'

This would likely be between 4 and 5 per cent, rather than the 12 per cent increase recommended by the Low Pay Commission which Azets says would place a 'significant burden on SMEs'.

CSNA noted that the company also calls for a €2 billion SME Innovation Fund to support SMEs through the digital and green transition and diversify Ireland’s economic model.

The firm also suggested the creation of an SME Talent Taskforce to address challenges facing SMEs in attracting and retaining talented people within the domestic economy.

'Positivity'

Formerly known as Baker Tilly, Azets specialises in mid-sized owner-managed or family-owned businesses.

Neil Hughes, chief executive Azets Ireland said that, despite high inflation, there was “positivity” surrounding the future of SMEs. The firm’s SME Pulse Survey shows that fewer than one in five small and medium-sized business leaders expects revenue and profits to fall this year.

“But we should not be complacent,” he said. “Challenges lie ahead. Rising prices are putting a squeeze on already-tight margins, while many businesses are facing difficulties in attracting and retaining talented people.

“Our pre-budget submission for SMEs sets out changes that can help ease the rising cost of doing business and staff shortages as well as developing sustainable firms,” he said.

Read More: CSNA Provides Retailers With VAT Rate Changes

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