'Save our Small Businesses Now' says Naughten

A local TD has accused the Minister for Finance of dismissing the plight of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Deputy Denis Naughten accused the Minister for Finance of ignoring heartfelt pleas fromfrom struggling businesses across the region

In the Dail this week, Minister Michael McGrath said that there are "no plans to change the VAT rate... that is not going to happen".

Naughten said the news left countless businesses teetering on the brink of closure without the lifeline they desperately need.

"I, along with my Regional Group colleagues, stand united in our frustration and disappointment, because we are seeing first hand the devastating toll that high VAT rates are taking on food businesses within the hospitality sector. This is compounded across all business with the failure to address employers PRSI anomalies," said Denis Naughten.

He continued: “However, with a critical Private Members Debate looming next Wednesday morning in Dáil Éireann, there's still a glimmer of hope that the government might reverse its stance and provide the essential support SMEs urgently require.

"My colleagues and I are calling for an immediate reduction in the VAT rate from the punitive 13.5% to a more manageable 9% for food businesses, aiming for relief before Easter. We also want a lower rate of employers' PRSI to apply across all business to cover the full national minimum wage level. This is not just about numbers; it's about survival. “ur local retailers and restaurants, the heart of our towns and villages, are facing unprecedented challenges. Many have already been forced to shut down, not only costing precious jobs but also eroding the charm and vitality of our communities.

"Local family-run businesses are more than just commercial entities; they are the cornerstones of community interaction and social cohesion. Their decline signifies not just an economic loss but a profound social one. The Government's failure to act not only jeopardises these enterprises but neglects the invaluable social fabric they weave in our lives. SMEs are not merely a segment of our economy; they are its very pulse.

“As the debate approaches, my colleagues and I are adamant about championing the cause of SMEs. Our motion is clear, it's time to stand by the businesses that serve as the backbone of our local economies and communities. We cannot allow the Government's inaction to dim the vibrant spirit of our nation's towns and villages,” continued Denis Naughten.