Thurles, Co. Tipperary born Mr Mark Fielding, Chief Executive of the Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) has warned that while inflation remains low, business costs are steadily rising.
“Increasing costs are one of the most pressing issues facing SMEs at present. It is difficult for small businesses to grow and hire new staff, when their cost base is continuously rising and their margins reduce,” said Mr Fielding.
ISME warn of rising business costs despite new figures showing low inflation levels. Consumer prices increased by just 0.1 per cent over the year to December, according to latest figures published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO).
Transport-related costs fell by 4.3% over the year,due to a decline in the prices paid for petrol, diesel and air fares.
Motor Insurance premiums increased by 31% in the year to December, due to insurers continued to hike prices.
Clothing and Footwear costs were down 4.1%, due mainly to heavy discounting by retailers, while household-related items, e.g. furnishings fell by some 1.5%.
Alcoholic Beverages sold in Supermarkets and Off-Licences were lower in the period.
Education, Miscellaneous Goods and Services demonstrated the largest yearly price increases, with same up 3.8% and 2.6% respectively.
Fuel related prices and Communications costs rose by 2.1% and by 1.7% respectively over this same time frame.
Mark Fielding: As well as being Chief Executive of (ISME) Mr Mark Fielding is a member of the Company Law Review Group, the High Level Group on Business Regulation and the Advisory Group on Small Business. He also sits on the administrative council of UEAPME, the European employers’ organisation, latter a recognised European Social Partner representing more than 12 million enterprises, while employing 55 million people across Europe.