BUSINESS

Businesses may turn backs on state

By Dimitra Manifava - Kathimerini

Businesses are threatening to stop meeting their financial obligations to the Greek state and move their operations abroad in order to avoid higher taxes if the government doesn't change its tax policy and introduce growth measures for small and medium-sized enterprises. In addition, an estimated 375,180 businesses are generating losses, with 176,700 of these facing the risk of closure by the end of 2011, in changes that mean that 305,000 job positions would be lost. Job losses over the next six months are already estimated as reaching 120,000 positions. These are among the key conclusions of a survey conducted by the General Confederation of Small Businesses and Traders (GSEVEE) in cooperation with research company Marc. According to the survey, which questioned 960 businesses with up to 49 employees between July 15 and 28, 44 percent of respondents said that they are likely - or very likely - to shut down, while almost 20 percent said that there is a significant danger of stopping operations. The risk of closing down is greatest in the manufacturing business (50 percent) and in very small businesses, according to the study. In the first half of 2010, 21.9 percent of businesses cut back on staff numbers, while just 3.6 percent went ahead with additional hirings. As a result, the net percentage of business that scaled back on staff in the first six months of the year reached 18.3 percent, which means that some 88,000 jobs have been lost. Forecasts for the labor market in the second half of the year are just as downbeat, with 27.7 percent of respondents getting ready to reduce payroll costs.

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