Tuesday's budget a key test for government: Over the last week, Ibec met Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe to again impress upon government the need for a pro-business, pro-enterprise budget. We also briefed TDs from right across the political spectrum in Buswell's hotel on Wednesday morning. There is an increased appreciation of the intense strain sterling's collapse is putting on many companies, and the need to stay competitive in these uncertain times. The budget is a chance to significantly improve the business and personal tax offering, and channel new investment into vital infrastructure projects. Nothing should be done that would push up business costs. It is vital that Dáil arithmetic does not limit ambition or put off hard decisions. Ibec has been calling for a Brexit-proofed Budget since the day after the referendum - we hope that Government delivers one next week which contains targeted measures of real substance. We wait to see. On Tuesday evening you'll receive a copy of the Ibec Agenda with an analysis of what the budget means for your business. Next Friday morning you are invited to attend a Budget briefing if you would like to register here www.ibec.ie/0/budget-2017-Analysis
Scene set for tough negotiations, hard Brexit: UK PM Theresa May put political considerations firmly above economic ones in her address to the Tory party conference last weekend. The Brexit mood music has deteriorated, with key players in Europe pushing back. The March 2017 deadline for exit negotiations adds clarity, but immigration and judicial sovereignty appear to trump single market access when it comes to the UK opening position. It's very early days, but as it stands it looks like we're heading for a hard Brexit and a new EU-UK trading relationship based on a free trade agreement, or worse again, default WTO trade rules. This is bad news for Ireland. Ibec remains in ongoing contact with Government, the European institutions, European business and senior UK government representatives, stressing the need for negotiations to address specific Irish concerns. This week we also met senior representatives of the City of London and briefed the global boards of a number of major international corporations. In specific areas there will be upsides, but uncertainty remains the order of the day. Our trade associations and policy committees are working to identify the complex problems that will arise as the UK exits, and ensure that these are addressed. Let me know if we can help you at this time. I'll keep you posted of Ibec's work.
Business meets with Government and labour trade unions: Earlier in the week Ibec sat down with government and the unions at the first Labour Employer Economic Forum, chaired by Taoiseach Enda Kenny. Also in attendance were Ministers Noonan, Donohoe and Mitchell-O'Connor whilst ICTU was led by General Secretary Patricia King. Whilst the forum will not deal with specific pay nor industrial dispute determinations, there are areas where we can work together to address shared concerns on investment, employment and social policy. We often disagree, but on some issues there is scope for greater cooperation and an agreed approach. The LEEF process will have quarterly meetings and give the shared labour market with the UK, the issue of Brexit is likely to dominate over the coming year but we will stress the competitiveness agenda.
Get in touch with any queries or comments. It's always good to hear from you.
Enjoy the weekend
Friday, 7 October 2016