Govt ‘must step in’ to save viable businesses
2010-03-03 14:28:39 -

By Chinedu Onyejelem


The business sector in Ireland could be severely damaged if the Government does not take urgent steps to address the flow of credit to them, opposition parties have said.

Speaking following the release of the latest Irish Small and Medium Enterprise (ISME) Bank Watch survey on Monday – which showed that the banks and financial institutions have refused credit facilities to 55 per cent of Irish businesses – Sinn Féin and Fine Gael’s spokespersons on finance and enterprise said Government action was vital in changing the status quo.
According to Sinn Féin’s Arthur Morgan TD: “Enterprises in this State are on life support and today’s revelations are putting the nail in the coffin of the misconception that banks have kept a steady flow of credit to the people.” 
He warned that banks would continue “acting on commercial criteria with their main interest to look after themselves, rather than assisting SMEs and economic recovery” if nothing is done about it.
Fine Gael’s Leo Varadkar TD blamed the Government for letting the situation get out of control. However, he said that a change of policy would reverse the negative trend. 
“The Fianna Fáil/Green Government should be doing far more to save viable businesses,” he said, adding that “a new national recovery bank to get lending going again to viable businesses, ” would improve the current situation.
Varadkar also proposed “a national competitiveness action plan to bring down costs controlled or regulated by the Government”. 
“As well as abolishing upward-only rent reviews on new contracts, the Government must also apply pressure on landlords to bring down costs on existing contracts in order to reflect true market value,” he said.
The Fine Gael TD said his party’s ideas, if accepted and implemented by the Government, would surely avoid the collapse of Ireland’s smaller enterprise sector. 
“Ireland will not see any economic recovery without a vibrant SME sector,” he added.

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