Budget 2014 appears to be SME friendly

A number of measures have been announced affecting the SME sector in Budget 2014, including the threshold being increased increased from €500,000 to €3m for SME loan appeals to the Credit Review Office (CRO) and €2 billion in SME supports.

The CRO helps SME or farm borrowers who have had an application for credit declined or reduced and who feel they have a viable business proposition.

This is expected to facilitate requests from a broader range of SMEs as well as large requests for refinancing.

Among the State supports to SMEs announced is a new two-day programme with expert mentoring to enhance the financial and business capacity of SMEs.

The objective of the initiative is to equip SMEs with the necessary tools to improve their ability to secure financing for their business.
The programme will be launched on a pilot basis with 1,000 SMEs taking part next year.

In other measures relating to SMEs, the initial 30pc relief available for investments under the Employment and Investment Incentive is being removed from the high earners restriction for a period of three years.

And the Stamp Duty charge (currently 1pc) on shares listed on the Enterprise Securities Market of the Irish Stock Exchange (ISE) has been removed, which has been welcomed by the ISE.

“This initiative enables ESM companies to operate on a level playing field with their international peers when competing for international investment. It matches similar proposals made in the UK earlier this year and moves the Irish market more in line with European norms,” the ISE said in a statement.