Supporting SMEs and the self-employed a key priority – Smith

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has said supporting the self-employed and small to medium sized businesses will be one of his top priorities in the months ahead.

Deputy Smith pointed out that Fianna Fáil has a detailed jobs plan which aims to create 250,000 new jobs by 2021 by supporting Irish enterprises.

“One of the issues that arose again and again throughout the election was how self-employed people feel abandoned by Government.  I believe much more needs to be done to support self-employed people in creating employment in communities in Cavan, Monaghan and across the border region.  To help achieve this we plan to equalise tax treatment of the self-employed by increasing the earned income tax credit by 300% to €1,650”, explained the Cavan based Deputy.

“I will also work with my colleagues to reform commercial rates to make the system work for small businesses.  At the moment commercial rates are prohibitively high and are preventing start-up businesses from expanding.  There needs to be some degree of flexibility in the system to give small businesses the breathing space they need to grow.

“Fianna Fáil is also pushing for a move towards a social welfare safety net for self-employed people. Currently entrepreneurs are reluctant to commit their time and money to starting up their own business as they are fearful of not having a safety net should they fail.  We will overcome this problem by allowing self-employed people to make full Class A PRSI contributions in order to qualify for Jobseekers Benefit and Invalidity Benefit.

“We also need to strengthen businesses operating in rural Ireland.  Fianna Fáil is proposing a significant programme of investment in infrastructure, such as broadband, to ensure SME’s can continue to operate in rural Ireland.  We are committed to the appointment of a Minister for Rural Affairs who will have responsibility for attracting new jobs and investment into rural areas,” said Deputy Smith.