British Irish Chamber of Commerce welcomes Budget 2018 but feels further work is needed if Ireland is to survive the uncertain period ahead
PRESIDENT EOIN O’NEILL: “We are facing one of the biggest economic challenges of this generation and while some prudence is necessary, we must also be brave and put forward big ideas to help best protect our future”.
10 October 2017 – The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has reacted to the publication of Budget 2018 by Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe today.
Speaking after budget was announced this lunchtime, President of the British Irish Chamber, Eoin O’Neill said:
“The British Irish Chamber of Commerce welcomes the publication of Budget 2018 which we feel includes some positive measures to help business survive and grow through this period of uncertainty. Greater funding for the state agencies will go some way towards supporting those businesses that are particularly exposed to Brexit.
“The introduction of a Brexit Loan Scheme will provide much needed support to SME’s who are facing serious challenges to their business model as a result of Brexit. SME’s employ over 69% of the Irish workforce so ensuring they have the means to adequately prepare for Brexit is vital as part of our national effort to mitigate the negative impacts of Brexit. In addition, the extra the €25 million specifically available to those in the agri food sector will support the sector at most risk
“The Chamber especially welcomes the retention of the 9% VAT rate for the hospitality industry, something we have advocated strongly for over the summer period. Our tourism sector is a vital part of our national economy and protecting its competitiveness at a time when the depreciation of sterling has made Ireland a more expensive destination for our main market in the UK is both a sensible and necessary measure. We now urge the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to increase funding for Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland.
“Planned increases in capital expenditure are also welcome. Throughout the financial crisis Ireland saw reduced investment in our infrastructure which put Irish businesses at a comparative disadvantage with their competitors in the UK and more broadly, in the EU. It is only right that as we experience economic growth, money be strategically invested in critical infrastructure projects that will improve our competitiveness and our ability to take advantage of any opportunities that might arise because of Brexit.
“The Chamber further supports the Government’s financial commitment to the arts and culture sectors and the introduction of the five year legacy programme.
“While there are positive measures within this Budget, Ireland is about to go through one of the biggest economic shocks in the history of the State, and we feel the budget strategy should reflect that.
“It is disappointing that there has been no change to the SARP criteria which could go a long way towards attracting high grade talent into Ireland. We also would have liked to see an increase in entrepreneur relief to help support those brave visionaries who will drive our economy forward into the next phase of our economic development.
“In order to make certain that Ireland is best prepared for Brexit, we need the Government to make brave choices that will help improve the competitiveness of Irish business. We also need the Government to invest in our future through putting in place a long-term, sustainable, funding model for higher education and our research sector. ”
To read the Budget 2018 Statement of the Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Mr. Paschal Donohoe T.D. click here