The British Irish Chamber of Commerce today called for the establishment of an EU-wide Brexit Mitigation Fund for industries and regions negatively impacted by Brexit and urged the government to step up its efforts to protect the economy against the worst impacts of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. In its Pre-Budget Submission presented to the Minister for Finance Paschal Donohue TD, the Chamber warns of the knock-on effects of no-deal Brexit scenario. With the aim of mitigating these risks, the Chamber has put forward a series of measures that seek to Brexit-proof the economy, protect UK-Ireland trade, enhance business competitiveness and invest in Ireland’s future needs. 

To sustain job growth and business investment in this era of uncertainty, the Chamber recommends that Budget 2019 consider the:

  • Creation of an EU-wide Brexit Mitigation Fund for industries and regions most impacted by Brexit;
  • Establishment of a working group to identify the impact of Brexit on each tax heading;
  • Ringfencing of a proportion of the annual corporate tax intake for a ‘Rainy Day Fund’ to protect against the shock of a ‘hard Brexit’;
  • An incremental reduction in Ireland’s standard rate of VAT;
  • Retain the 9% VAT rate for the tourism and hospitality sector;
  • Development of a North-South Academic Corridor;
  • Doubling of funding for the arts sector over the next five years;
  • Development of a National Infrastructure Commission;
  • Reduction in VAT for large scale buy-to-let developments.

In launching the Pre-Budget Submission, John McGrane, the Director-General of the British Irish Chamber of Commerce said: “The UK’s withdrawal from the EU offers a timely, urgent and powerful catalyst for doing the right things, now. For Ireland is uniquely exposed to Brexit on all fronts, with untold economic, social and cultural repercussions for decades to come.

“In advocating for an EU-wide Brexit Mitigation Fund, the government can help protect the most vulnerable sectors of our economy and areas of the country most impacted by the UK’s impending withdrawal from the EU. Setting aside some of our future corporate tax revenue will also provide an additional financial buffer to protect the Irish economy from the worst consequences of Brexit.

“Right now, in a world filled with challenge and change, future-proofing the Irish economy is not just about Brexit-proofing, it is also about enhancing Ireland’s competitiveness and investing in our future needs. By investing in world-class infrastructure today, we can sustain growth and jobs in 2019 and beyond. By reinvigorating a high-impact and sustainable education system we can ensure our future workforce is aligned to Ireland of 2040.”

The recommendations set forth within the British Irish Chamber of Commerce’s Pre-Budget Submission are the culmination of policy seminars, stakeholder engagement, expert analysis and input from the Chamber’s ten policy committees and membership base.

The Chamber’s Pre-Budget Submission is available to download here