Sinn Fein spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that small and medium-sized enterprises have been short-changed by Budget 2024.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“The main announcement for businesses in Budget 2024 was a €250 million package of temporary supports to deal with cost-of-living pressures.
“While this is welcome, it falls far short of what businesses need.
“As the Irish SME Association (ISME) said – the support averages €1,923 per business and it remains to be seen if it will be sufficient.
“This point is reinforced by the fact the scheme is inevitably being funded from the underspend of the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme (TBESS).
“The TBESS scheme only expended 9% of its €1.3 billion budget – as of August 2023 only €117 million in claims had been approved, and only €111 million in claims issued.
“Therefore, SMEs have the right to ask where the rest of that money has gone if it is not being used to support the sector.
“Sinn Féin has long called for the full use of the €1.3 billion fund to support SMEs.
“The money is still on the Department’s books, and the Minister could have reprofiled and redistributed the funding before today.
“Given insolvencies are up 38 percent across the first three-quarters of the year – from 373 in 2022 to 514 in 2023 – the Minister must explain why he did not utilise this over the past ten months to support struggling businesses.
“The Minister for Enterprise, Trade, and Employment must also explain to the SME sector where the rest of the TBESS underspend, around €850 million, has gone.
“While some measures in the package announced today are welcome, it is clear that Budget 2024 has short-changed SMEs.”