According to a survey by accounting firm ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton, more than two-thirds of Irish SMEs believe the budget has not done enough to help them get through the winter and 80 per cent believe higher costs will put them at risk in the coming months be forced to lay off employees .
This week’s government budget includes a range of measures to combat the worst effects of inflation, particularly rising energy costs.
One of the largest single measures for businesses is the €1.2 billion made available under the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses deal with their energy bills.
For an individual company, its energy costs must have increased by more than 50 percent compared to the same period last year to qualify for the support. It will fund eligible businesses up to 40 percent of the increase in their energy bills compared to the same period last year, up to a cap of €10,000 per month.
But a post-budget survey by ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton found that 68 per cent of SMEs feel the budget hasn’t done enough to help them. And 64 percent don’t think fiscal action will make a difference in containing inflation.
The survey of 450 professional clients advising more than 10,000 SMEs found that they believe other support measures are needed to help businesses survive. Her wish list includes more business and energy support, more tax cuts, and an extension to the tax debt storage period that was introduced during the pandemic and is now phasing out.
“SMEs are being hit from all directions by energy, borrowing, supply chain and labor costs, all rising at the same time, and this is having a significant impact on their ability to trade,” said Caitriona Allis, Head of ACCA Ireland.
She said the poll conducted this week “reflects those apprehensions and apprehensions” that the business community faces as it enters a difficult trading period.
Ms Allis agreed that many of the measures put into the budget by the government “can make a significant difference” for SMEs as they try to stay afloat while costs mount.
While she welcomed the business energy support scheme, she said it needed to be implemented quickly and without red tape.
If the government can quickly pass this support on to SMEs, I would expect a number of SMEs to be more optimistic about the next 12 months
The support program – which is set to run for six months – will be administered by the Revenue Commissioners and will be implemented on a self-assessment basis.
“If the government can quickly pass this support on to SMEs, I would expect a number of SMEs to be more confident about the next 12 months,” Ms Allis said.
The ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton survey found 27 per cent of SMEs are less confident about their prospects for the next 12 months after budget. Only 16 percent are more confident, while 57 percent believe their outlook is unchanged.
More than a third of those surveyed, or 35 percent, also indicated that in relation to retaining skills in the workforce, the announced childcare support will not help keep a skilled workforce in full-time employment. The government has announced it will support a weekly fee reduction of up to 25 per cent for those using the National Childcare Scheme.
https://www.independent.ie/business/budget/budget-wont-help-smes-to-survive-the-winter-says-acca-ireland-and-grant-thornton-survey-42027761.html According to a survey by ACCA Ireland and Grant Thornton, the budget will not help SMEs survive the winter