IBEC West, the group that represents business in the region, has said that Government must prioritise the protection of existing employment and stimulate job creation in the upcoming Budget, while remaining resolute in reining in the public finances. The west has an unemployment rate of 13.1 per cent, which makes job creation critical to the region.
IBEC West regional director John Brennan said the priority must be to implement policies that will get Ireland working again, by making better use of existing resources. The Government should front-load adjustments in the public finances in this Budget; that way businesses and consumers will become more confident about future economic prospects. There must be no relaxation of the target to reduce the budget deficit to below three per cent of GDP by 2013.
“If we make the right decisions now, the economy will emerge stronger from this recession; if we postpone these choices, however, Ireland’s economic malaise could continue for many years,” said Mr Brennan.
The IBEC pre-Budget submission makes the following key points:
An ambitious jobs stimulus package is urgently required to protect existing employment and help get those on the Live Register working again.
A reduced rate of employers’ PRSI should be applied for new jobs created during 2010.
An improved employment subsidy scheme should be introduced and funding should be increased for the Enterprise Stabilisation Fund.
A Government-backed trade credit insurance scheme should be introduced.
There should be no relaxation of the target to reduce the general Government deficit below three per cent by 2013.
There must be no further increases in the income tax burden.
Health and income levies should be incorporated into the existing tax rate structure.
In the absence of a complete overhaul of the PRSI and welfare systems, there should be no further increase in, or removal of, the employee PRSI ceiling.
Tax relief on personal pension contributions should remain at the marginal tax rate.
Excise on alcohol should be reduced in order to stem the losses to the Exchequer from the growth in cross-border shopping.
A revenue-raising carbon tax should not be introduced in the current economic circumstances.
Funding and implementation of the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation should be maintained.
Companies should be allowed to offset the R&D tax credit relief against either their employer’s PRSI liability or corporation tax.