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The UK Government's embrace of a "hard Brexit" approach to leaving the EU poses "serious threats to small business in Ireland," according to Patricia Callan, Director of Ireland's Small Firms Association (SFA).
Callan said that UK Prime Minister Theresa May's recent speech on her Brexit objectives "signalled very difficult times ahead for those firms that rely on selling to the UK market or are part of a sub supply chain connected to the UK."
May this week confirmed that the UK intends to leave the EU Single Market and may also leave the Customs Union.
Callan noted that, in November, 41 percent of SFA members said Brexit had had a negative impact on their firms and 68 percent anticipated that they would be impacted negatively over the following six months. She said that with May's announcement, "we can expect these figures to continue to rise as the negative effects of Brexit become permanent."
Callan called on the Irish Government to take action and ensure that "the uniquely negative implications" for Ireland are heard at an EU level. She said Ireland should receive exemptions from state aid rules, and that the common travel area must be maintained.
According to Callan, the Government should improve its tax offering to entrepreneurs "to make it at the very least competitive with what's already on offer in the UK." She said this should include a 10 percent capital gains tax rate for entrepreneurs on gains up to the first GBP10m (USD12.3m).
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