Broadening the tax base and focusing on cutting expenditure means that the direct impact on jobs has been minimised. However, abolishing the employer redundancy rebate will make it more difficult for companies to make the changes needed to stay afloat and restructure. The decision not to introduce a statutory sick pay scheme is welcome, as it would have pushed struggling firms out of business and cost jobs.
In particular, I welcome the specific measures designed to tackle unemployment, the new SME tax reform plan and investment fund, and more streamlined supports to help businesses take on new staff. The move to allow early access to AVC pension contributions, which IBEC proposed, will put more money into the economy and help support domestic demand.
The last year has seen Irish economic fortunes improve and 85% of the planned fiscal adjust has now taken place. If we can get growth back into the economy, future budgets will be a lot easier.