Chambers Ireland Calls for Budget 2020 to Focus on Planning for the Long-Term, as well as Brexit

Chambers Ireland, in an address to the Oireachtas Committee on Budgetary Oversight, welcomes the prudent decision by the Minister of Finance to plan for a ‘No-Deal’ Brexit Budget, but also calls on Government and legislators not to lose sight of other longer-term challenges for the Irish economy.

Addressing the Committee this afternoon (24 September 2019), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said,

“While the impact of Brexit requires significant attention, we must not lose sight of the longer-term challenges that Ireland will face in the years ahead. It was with this perspective in mind that we centered our recommendations to Government, focusing on the decarbonisation of our society and the necessary mitigation and adaptation strategies which follow from that.

Specifically, we need to invest the revenue that we already collect from the Carbon Tax, along with revenue collected from future increases, in green infrastructure. The Taoiseach’s indication yesterday that this would be the chosen path for Government is a welcome one.

Increased carbon taxes which are not complemented with investment in grid infrastructure, public transport and retrofitting will have a disproportionate impact on low-income households and remoter parts of our country.

To help businesses budget for increases to the Carbon Tax, we require a schedule for such increases, which will have the double effect of not only helping business to plan for them, but will also bring greater predictability to the present value of energy efficiency measures, thereby encouraging viable investment.”

Also addressing the Committee this afternoon, Sligo Chamber Chief Executive Aidan Doyle, spoke about the need to ensure that regional towns and economies are invested in.

“The best kind of economic stimulus for towns and cities like Sligo is to have people working and living in the heart of them. Places like Cork, Dublin and Limerick have the Living City Initiative (LCI) aimed at protecting the Georgian parts of those towns by bringing life back to them.

The expansion of the LCI to Sligo and other regional towns and cities, with the extension of this initiative beyond the current May 2020 deadline, will enhance the regeneration of our regional towns and cities and will attract people back living above shops and restaurants in buildings that are hundreds of years old.”