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Coughlan welcomes easing of administrative burden on small food businesses

Speaking at an Exhibition of Speciality Foods in the Riverside Hotel, Macroom, Co. Cork today, Minister for Agriculture and Food, Mary Coughlan TD, welcomed the easing of administrative burden on small businesses announced in Budget 2007.

"Small businesses are a major source of employment and growth for all sectors in this country. That is why I am particularly pleased that we were able to introduce a package of measures in Budget 2007 aimed at reducing the administrative burden on this important sector. An increase in the Preliminary Tax payment threshold from ?50,000 to ?150,000, an increase in the small business VAT registration thresholds and a reduction in the frequency of VAT returns are all very good news for anyone in the sector, and will be welcomed by our many small food businesses."

At the West Cork event, Minister Coughlan viewed local jams and relishes based on traditional recipes, confectionery, intriguing cheeses, Macroom oatmeal and renowned black pudding saying that they "all provide consumers with individual food stories rooted in regional identity and local creativity - some of the best that Ireland has to offer".

Congratulating West Cork LEADER and Fuschia for their drive and commitment to promoting the region and to supporting the enterprises exhibiting, the Minister added: "Farmers markets, country markets, delicatessens, independents and larger retail outlets are seeking new product to meet consumer demands for local and speciality food. Bord Bia's Guide to Speciality Retail Markets provides good advice on developing market opportunities. I am very committed to the promotion of small food businesses and our Regional Food Forums have been a great success in that regard. Small businesses need every support in terms of marketing and networking. The Budget announcements should free up more time for both."

Concluding, the Minister said that she believed that there was a very positive future for quality Irish food producers and was certain that the many small food businesses, both in the Macroom area and nationally, would go from strength to strength in the years ahead. She hoped that the measures outlined in Budget 2007 would be welcomed by all in the sector.

8 December, 2006

Date Released: 08 December 2006