SFA wants no tax hikes in Budget


The Small Firms Association yesterday urged the Government not to raise taxes in the Budget because of the bleak economic outlook for the rest of 2003.

The lobby group called on the Government to prepare a Budget that sustained existing employment and exercised discipline in public spending. It should also prioritise and deliver a service based on necessity, quality and value for money, said director of the Small Firms Association (SFA), Mr Pat Delaney, in the group's autumn statement.

"The framework of the Budget will be difficult as uncertainty continues to persist," said the economic statement. "The SFA calls on the Government to not take the easy option of increasing taxes, as this will do untold harm to the economy at a time when it is most vulnerable."

Lack of progress on insurance reform would result in many company closures over the coming months. The Government should abolish the 2 per cent stamp duty on insurance policies to alleviate the burden on business, said the SFA.

Mr Delaney said employment growth had slowed considerably during 2003 with 18 per cent of firms making staff redundant. Having created 64,201 jobs in 2001, small firms would create below 17,000 new jobs in 2003.

The Small Firms Association said it believed inflation rates were now subsiding and it urged the Government to set an overall inflation target of 2 per cent.