Over recent weeks colleagues and I at Ibec have teased out and defined the priorities of business for Budget 2018 and as we formally launch our submission this morning, I thought I would take the opportunity to update you.
On this occasion feedback from members has never been more stark or consistent - business has coalesced around the lack of infrastructure capacity being the biggest threat to Ireland’s competitiveness. Pressures on transport, broadband, schools, environmental infrastructure and hospitals present enormous challenges to both business and society, and Ireland's demographic trends call for an even greater urgency for much more investment.
In Ibec's priorities for Budget 2018, we make evidence-based arguments that Government has more to spend on investment if it so chooses, and that failure to use these available resources will compound the crisis. It is for this reason that I am convinced that Budget 2018 is of particular significance.
In our submission to Government we identify five key proposals for Budget 2018. They are:
-Additional fiscal space is available and must be used to increase investment.
-The Budget must be Brexit-proofed.
-Ireland must focus on creating a high-skilled economy.
-The Government must defend Ireland’s foreign direct investment model where necessary, and improve it where possible.
-We must put in place proper 21st century infrastructure to make sure Ireland maintains its competitive edge.
You may have observed Ibec has been in the national media relating to these issues; we took the opportunity to brief all key print and broadcast outlets on our priorities over recent days. We will continue to push our messages out through these channels in the run up to Budget Day in mid-October.
While our political strategy on the urgent need for investment has been ongoing, our next wave of engagement will involve bilateral meetings with Cabinet ministers, opposition leaders, spokespeople and backbenchers.
You can read more on Ibec priorities in Building for the future which is attached and also view it on our website. Ibec will continue to be assertive on this campaign and work to ensure the importance of not losing the opportunity of Budget 2018 to build on the substance and success of the Irish business model and to help prepare the country for the challenges posed by Brexit.
As always, it would be good to hear from you, so please feel free to let me know your views.