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Companies Bill 2012: Second Stage

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Companies Bill 2012: Second Stage

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Snippet Contents:

I am sharing time with Deputy Mattie McGrath.
I support many aspects of this Bill. A commitment the Minister made before his election was to introduce it. In the short time available to me I want to speak on the benefits to SMEs afforded by the Bill. Sadly, it does not address the issue of companies dealing with workers' rights. The Minister may well say this should not be part of the Bill, but, having spoken to many trade unionists and company representatives, I believe it should. SMEs provide more than one third of all private sector employment in Ireland. As we know only too well, the financial crisis is having a severe effect on them.
There is much to be welcomed in the Bill. Many of the changes it proposes to introduce should help small and medium-sized businesses, in particular. I especially welcome the changes that will allow for some of the 12,500 private companies limited by shares which are established every year to incorporate more easily. This will result in an average saving of €1,200 in professional fees in each case. Anything that can be done to save jobs and keep businesses trading is welcome. The Bill's introduction of an affordable examinership regime will make the process a more accessible and affordable option for SMEs.
Under current legislation, only 1% of SMEs are using the courts to enter into examinership to try to trade out of their difficulties owing to the high costs they would face. I certainly hope it is true, as some industry experts are predicting, that the Bill, once enacted, will double the number of SME jobs saved this year. Perhaps the Minister might go into some detail on why he believes this will be the case.
The sad reality is that no matter how many companies or jobs are saved by opening up the examinership process, hundreds of companies will be lost, having gone into receivership. Approximately 2,000 company insolvencies last year resulted in receivership or liquidation.