General Election: potential for grave implications
With greater transparency around party policies emerging in the final week of general election campaigning, there is strong evidence of complacency around the core values that underpin the conditions for business to thrive.
A cold eye across the party manifestos on key business issues is revealing:
1. Taxation of multinationals and skilled workers: a number of party manifestos suggest raising billions in additional taxes from business and skilled workers. Proposals include significant increases in the marginal rates of tax and employers PRSI, a reduction in the attractiveness of Ireland as a location for intellectual property and abolition of income tax credits for high skilled workers and undermining tax support for pensions. There are also proposals to dismantle a number of important schemes such as SARP, while simultaneously narrowing the tax base leaving fewer workers paying more. These changes would be to a system which is already regarded as the most redistributive in the EU.
2. Voluntarist model of industrial relations: a number of party manifestos contain significant threats to our voluntarist model of industrial relations including creating a legal requirement on employers to recognise trade unions and impinging on labour market flexibility which would have significant unintended consequences for both employers and workers.
3. Investment and the National Development Plan (NDP): a number of party manifestos propose to remove, alter, substitute or change projects in the NDP which are already identified. This will undermine certainty for business planning sustainable investment, regional connectivity and slow the decision making process around large scale public capital investment that is so crucial.
If such proposals progress, the impact on business will be grave. They threaten to undermine the nation’s pro-business culture and today’s business model which we have nurtured over decades. Above all, it will undermine the ability of business to create the resources which allows government to provide for society and address the big challenges that lie ahead.
Regardless of the outcome of Saturday’s election, Ibec will work with the new political leadership to shape the next programme for government. We will ensure that relationships are strong and that mature and meaningful societal dialogue is at the core.
For the days ahead, Ibec provides you and your workforce with a set of priorities to talk to candidates about how creating the right conditions for business can improve living standards, generate tax revenue and create a sustainable future for all. For more details on business priorities for the next government and to listen to Business at the Ballot Box podcast go to our dedicated General Election 2020 website.
Please get in touch with any comments or queries, it’s always good to hear from you.