Comment: A tough climate for business

It is a brutally tough time for businesses, be they small, medium or large.

It is a brutally tough time for businesses, be they small, medium or large.

Recent weeks in this region and elsewhere have been a number of business closures, made all the more pointed and poignant in the fact that some of them were traditional and established, and were flagships of local industry.

Their passing is, of course part of a bigger picture which we are all too familiar with but, nevertheless, the spectacle of household names falling by the wayside demonstrates the depth of this recession, and the immense challenges now facing anyone hoping to stay in business, or indeed start one up.

Be they fledging or established, the business of staying in business in Ireland is a difficult proposition.

In this context, the government should take cognisance of the needs of local businesses in the forthcoming budget.

It is not purely an economic equation.

Local commerce is the lifeblood of communities, particularly in smaller towns and country areas.

To see them disappear is a catastrophic event for these communities, not only in terms of employment and trade, but also from a social aspect.

Employers and company owners have cited the cost of doing business in Ireland as one of the principal difficulties.

Rates and commercial rents, which are considered too high, are frequently cited as being two major stumbling blocks.

And if we consider what is owed to local authorities in rates across the country, one begins to get some idea of the scale of the problem.

In framing next month’s Budget, the government should be inherently mindful of the needs of small and medium sized enterprises.

They have an important role to play in all aspects of the country’s recovery, and this recovery will only be stymied by more costs, taxes and ultimately further closures.