Speaking at the Chamber Chief Executives’ Forum in Athlone, where Chamber Chief Executives from all over the country have gathered, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

 

“Budget 2019 will be the first since the finalisation of Project Ireland 2040, but it will also be the last before the UK’s departure from the European Union. This is representative of the wider position in which we currently stand; with great opportunity for growth on the one hand, and significant external threats on the other.

 

The message from consulting with our Chamber Network was clear: delivery of the National Development Plan is a priority for business. Government now needs to ensure that the infrastructure commitments made in the National Development Plan are delivered upon. The Rainy Day Fund should act an equalisation fund to ensure that we can continue to invest in infrastructure in any future economic downturn.

 

Our Pre Budget Submission recommends a range of measures which aim to make Ireland a better place in which to do business and bolster our economy for sustainable growth well into the future. Supporting entrepreneurs through the Brexit period, enabling indigenous businesses to grow and continuing to improve upon Ireland’s overall competitiveness should be the focus of Government in Budget 2019. Chambers Ireland’s submission recommends measures which will promote a sustainable future through investment in infrastructure; supporting our workforce through fair taxation and affordable childcare; encouraging entrepreneurship though tax equity for the self-employed and improving upon employee share options for SMEs; and battling Brexit through trade supports and maintaining the 9% VAT rate for the tourism industry.

 

Ireland’s competitiveness is increasingly under threat from the high cost of doing business and general high cost of living in Ireland. Government must focus on addressing the issues contributing to these high costs, from childcare to housing and beyond.

 

It is imperative that we use Budget 2019 to plan for the future with equal measures of optimism and caution. We stand in a strong economic position today. Strategic planning and spending should lead us on a sustainable path, ready to seize future opportunities and weather any threats.”