Yesterday Government published its much anticipated budget for the coming year. Budget 2016 is the first expansionary budget since the onset of the recession with Government indicating in advance that it would have €1.5bn to spend.
In our pre-budget submission we recommended government to focus on four key areas based on feedback received from our Members:-
- Supporting our entrepreneurs and small businesses
- Supporting local economic development
- Investing in physical and social infrastructure
- Enhancing efficiency in our public service
Under each of the headings above, we outlined concrete proposals for Government to consider. We have repeatedly called for the implementation of all of these proposals in our engagement with Government representatives throughout the year as well as in our PR activities.
We were pleased to see that many of our recommendations indeed were included in the budget, in particular the recognition of entrepreneurs and businesses as being drivers of economic growth.
The table below provides an overview of our recommendations against the content of the budget.
… But the job is not yet done accordinging to Madeleine Quirke, CEO Wexford ChamberWe also commend the decision to extend the ECCE scheme to cover a second free year and to allocate funding for establishing after-school care in existing schools. While it will take years to fully tackle the affordability and accessibility of childcare services, these moves are important first steps that will provide relief for parents all over the country and will make it easier for them to remain active in the labour market.Overall, Wexford Chamber broadly welcomes the budget. In particular, we welcome the first step towards putting the self-employed on an equal footing with the PAYE workers and the decision to reduce USC on income up to €70,044. These important measures will help businesses in all regions of the country and will ensure that people have more money in their pockets to spend which will support our indigenous economic development.Good for Business, Good for Consumers, Good for Families
“Despite some important steps in the right direction, we believe there are a number of areas where the budget did not go far enough. We will therefore focus our coming year’s lobbying activities on the remaining issues above with a view to see these being addressed in Budget 2017” concluded Madeleine.