SMEs welcome BES renewal

7 Dec 2006

The decision to continue the Business Expansion Scheme (BES) and the Seed Capital Scheme for a further seven years in yesterday’s Budget was welcomed by Dublin Chamber of Commerce, which it said would improve access to finance for SMEs.

The Dublin Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the changes to Vat for conferences and the construction of a conference centre in Dublin’s docklands.

“We believe that the proposed changes to Vat on ‘conference business’, together with the construction of the National Conference Centre in the Docklands by 2009, will add over €50m per annum to the Dublin economy,” said Gina Quin, CEO of Dublin Chamber of Commerce.

“Dublin is highly dependent on the business tourism sector. Each business tourist attending a convention in the city brings €1,360 to the economy,” Quinn said. “The 21pc Vat on convention business made Dublin a much less competitive location when compared with other destinations, where the Vat is less or where no Vat is charged at all.”

Yesterday’s decision by Finance Minister Brian Cowen TD to provide for an increase of Gross Capital Expenditure of 13pc in 2007, increasing the level of capital expenditure from 4.5pc to 4.7pc of GNP, was met with disappointment by the Chamber.

“This is somewhat disappointing, as we believe there was scope to raise capital spending to 6pc of GNP by 2008. This money could have ensured that the road-building programme under Transport 21 could have been delivered in seven years instead of 10 and provided much needed relief to those trapped in traffic.”

Dublin Chamber said the promotion of research, development and innovation is central to the growth of the Greater Dublin Area.

“In this regard, we welcome the proposed changes to the R&D tax credit and the provision of €5m in 2007 to provide SMEs with innovation vouchers to buy the expertise they need to develop their R&D capacity,” Quinn added.

By John Kennedy