This year Ibec led and shaped the national debate in the run up to Budget 2015. We explicitly called for a line to be drawn under the painful period of austerity and for a new a approach to secure recovery.
Our campaigning delivered tangible wins for business, including a reduction in personal taxes, increased investment in capital infrastructure, greater and more diverse access to finance for SMEs and an overhaul of our international tax offering.
We were first to predict that growth in 2014 would exceed expectations, but while the recovery is taking hold and the domestic economy is vastly improved, we are acutely aware that challenging trading conditions, legacy costs and wage pressure remain issues for many of our members. While unemployment figures have improved significantly, they still lag significantly behind peak figures in 2007.
Next year we will be working on your behalf to address key challenges, such as the need for increased public and private investment, the tentative recovery in the consumer economy and the rollout of a new spatial strategy, which is vital for long term recovery outside the main urban hubs.
The Ibec team and I wish you all the very best for the coming year. As you plan your future, we will be with you every step of the way supporting you in the challenges you face and helping to make the most of every opportunity.