CEO Update: Government Roadmap and pliable phasing so no business is left behind

May 02, 2020

Below is the latest newsletter from Ibec CEO Danny McCoy to members. 

Dear member, 

The Government’s Reopening Roadmap and the further package of economic measures is a core element of the framework needed to support an essential and phased return to social and economic activity. 

As you will be aware from my email yesterday and Ibec media interventions, we have been calling for this roadmap and its publication will somewhat assist with a phased, safe and much needed return for businesses. The health of the public and the workforce remain the primary concern, but it is now essential that we apply a risk-based approach to balance these health concerns with wider wellbeing issues and the need to have a functioning economy.  

The National Public Health Emergency Team has an important role in deciding when reopening can commence but it is now crucial to have businesses involved directly with employees in determining what and how this can occur safely in the workplace. Ibec will continue to work with Government on the practical implementation and phasing issues of the initial roadmap, this has been acknowledged in the publication; “The Government has already been working through the Labour Employer Economic Forum on a shared approach to gradual restarting …....the roadmap includes a process for engaging.” 

Crucially, and as explicitly positioned, this Roadmap is and should be pliable in its phasing, flexed as developments require and subject to advice from key stakeholders in society. It is as the Taoiseach stated a “living document”. It is important in this regard that no business is left behind and that engagement and communications is consistent and comprehensive across all business sectors. 
In relation to the new package of business liquidity and cashflow supports published today, many are in line with Ibec’s recommendations and lobbying effort in recent weeks. The scale of business collapse has been calamitous and unprecedented and the significant low interest rate loan guarantee; other liquidity and investment measures; grants; and tax deferral and waiver supports; are an important further step in addressing the cashflow crisis which so many businesses are dealing with. 

The liquidity measures are part of the continuum to adapt to living with the consequences of the virus on our economic life but they too will need to be progressed and modified in terms of the sustainability of both the State and business. This points to a difficulty in the length of the Roadmap phasing. Whilst three weeks has a logic in its public health dimension, it is unlikely to be compatible with the sustainability of businesses surviving, nor the capacity of the State to continue supports for both employees and business. 

I will be in touch again after the weekend and hope you get an opportunity to enjoy it. 

Best wishes, 

Danny McCoy