Yesterday I and a few of my colleagues from the #SMEcommunity on twitter got the impromptu opportunity to say a few words to Joan Burton, the Minister for Social Protection. We gave her our opinions on what needed to change for SMEs in Ireland. As ever the opportunity for a politician to have a real conversation with their core audience was passed off by asking us to send in suggestions for change.
The same suggestions we gave to Enda Kenny before the election.
The same suggestions we have given to Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs and Innovation.
The same suggestions we have given to Michael Noonan, Minister for Finance.
The same suggestions we are about to give to Joan Bruton, Minister for Social Protection.
There is a pattern forming here, can you guess what it is? It seems small business in Ireland has become a very bad parody of competitions held on the children’s programme The Den- ‘Answers on a postcard please and if we don’t call you unfortunately you haven’t won.’
Like we tried to explain yesterday, time is of the essence. SMEs in Ireland don’t have the luxury of time to sit around and wait for ‘that phone call’. There is no doubt that Ireland finds itself in an economically fragile state. But far from shirking our responsibilities, we have tried to come up with new ways of surviving. Not thriving, just surviving.
What needs to change now is the system. Rents, Rates, Red Tape, Broadband Infrastructure, PAYE, PRSI, the way the Revenue treats SMEs, Bank Loans, Public Procurement, Social Welfare for Sole Traders and breaks for small exporters (if I have left anything out forgive me, the list is long!). Time and time again we find ourselves repeating the same ‘suggestions’. How many is enough? How many SMEs telling them the same problems will it take to start creating a system that works for us, not against us? You can elect new governments, but it seems all you do is put new wrapping paper on the same broken toy.
We do not have time to waste like the dripping water that wares down the stone over time. We are finding new ways to manage our businesses, now they need to manage theirs.
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