Small business group ISME has called for measures to help companies to maintain jobs in the forthcoming Budget.

In a pre-Budget submission, chief executive Mark Fielding said increased unemployment was expected to add €5 billion to the social welfare budget next year, and it made more sense to help companies to keep people on.

ISME wants cuts in employers' PRSI and an extension of the Employment Subsidy Scheme. It has also called for a three-year tax back initiative, which would allow small companies to recoup corporation tax by offsetting losses against profits made in the previous three years.

ISME also wants a Government-backed loan guarantee scheme to guarantee up to 50% of loans to small and medium-sized enterprises.

Mr Fielding said policies should be aimed at cutting spending, particularly in the public sector, rather than tax increases. ISME wants cuts in public sector numbers and pay, and a new benchmarking process which would compare public sector wages with those in other countries.