Whitmore says small businesses in Wicklow struggling with rising energy costs

Small business supports

Social Democrats Jennifer Whitmore has called for supports for small businesses operating in Wicklow in light of the rising cost of energy. As Party Spokesperson on Energy, Deputy Whitmore along with her colleagues in the Social Democrats, will be announcing initiatives aimed at supporting businesses in their alternative budget 2023 this week ahead of the government’s own proposals due later this month.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Deputy Whitmore says, “Just this week, a business in Blessington has announced their imminent closure due to the rising cost of energy resulting in suppliers increasing their prices. This is causing a knock-on effect forcing small business owners to decide whether to absorb the price increase or pass it on to the customer. Without any supports, the decision can often be to shut down.  

“Wicklow is at risk of seeing more and more shops closing down if supports are not there to help them ride out the energy crisis. With the government’s budget due shortly, we in the Social Democrats are proposing cash supports for SMEs to support them at this time, in place until electricity prices are decoupled from the price of gas.

“Furthermore, our proposals will be demand-led so when a small business in a local village experiences unsustainable jumps in energy costs then they can quickly apply for a cash support, much like what was available during the covid pandemic. It’s vitally important that the state provides supports for our local SMEs which provide local employment and services to our towns and villages so we need to be able to jump in and help them until there is more certainty in the energy markets.

“To date, the government has been slow to act for this sector and as we head into a Christmas of harsher weather, it must be proactive in addressing the issues facing the SME sector head on” concludes Whitmore.

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