Ibec launches GE2020 campaign to give voice to business priorities

January 19, 2020

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, today launched its Ireland General Election 2020 campaign, ‘Make 8 February Your Business’ - #BeTheVoice. The campaign is designed to reach out to its members across Ireland and ensure that the voice of business is heard during and after the general election on 8 February 2020.

The campaign, which is available in brochure form below, has four key policy area priorities: 

1. Quality infrastructure and world class public services.
2. Tax policy to nurture indigenous business and our affinity with international investment. 
3. Tackle climate change and lead on creating a sustainable island. 
4. Law-making that creates the conditions for business success and a competitive labour market.

Commenting, Danny McCoy, Ibec CEO, said: “Ireland is prosperous. A strong economy is providing quality jobs, improving living standards and generating unprecedented tax revenues. This provides the resources to improve public services, build quality housing, deliver connected infrastructure and foster sustainable communities.

“But there are major challenges ahead. A shortage of housing, congested education, transport and health systems; and weak regional connectivity mean not everyone is feeling the full benefits of economic growth. Public infrastructure and services need investment to grow proportionally with the rapid rise in private sector investment and employment.

“Elections give rise to a national debate. At Ibec, we believe there is an opportunity for a wider social dialogue between stakeholders as to how best we can find solutions to meet the challenges presented by an expanding population and economy.”

A summary of Ibec’s ‘Make 8 February Your Business’ campaign priorities:

1. Quality infrastructure and world class public services

Quality national infrastructure and modern, world class public services are fundamental to national prosperity and well-being. Expensive housing, long commutes and stretched health and education systems are making Ireland a less attractive place to live, work and invest.
The next government must:
1. Put in place a new national housing strategy to deliver quality and affordable homes, champion higher density development and adopt a sensible approach to building height to achieve compact, sustainable and smart growth;
2. Reform the planning approval system so that key infrastructure projects are not impeded by unnecessary and costly delays;
3. Invest ambitiously in infrastructure, using exchequer, international and private financing, to meet the needs of our rapidly growing population and to support regional and all island connectivity;
4. Deliver a long-term sustainable funding model for third-level education which supports high quality research and innovation and stems the decline of our universities in international rankings;
5. Ensure our public services grow proportionately with private investment and wealth.

2. Tax policy to nurture indigenous business and our affinity with international investment

Global tax rules are transforming and this will have a major impact on our current and future foreign direct investment model. Now we must provide certainty and innovate with improvements to our current foreign direct investment tax model and a rapid release of supports for indigenous business. Ireland is an easy place to start a business, but a difficult one in which to grow one.

The next government must:
1. Convene a new Commission on Taxation to ensure that our tax system is sustainable. This Commission should bring coherence and underpin competitiveness of the taxation of corporations, property and the environment whilst incentivising indigenous business and ensuring fairness of the personal tax regime;
2. Support indigenous business through meaningful reform of Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for entrepreneurs and the Employment Incentive and Investment Scheme (EIIS) and ensuring that business can take full advantage of the benefits of employee share options;
3. Respond to the challenges of global tax reform by providing certainty on the 12.5% corporate tax rate, improving innovation supports and introducing accelerated capital allowances for investments in advanced manufacturing technology; 
4. Ringfence overruns in corporation tax revenues for spending on non-tax elements of the business model such as infrastructure, innovation, education, and quality of life.

3. Tackle climate change and lead on creating a sustainable island

While Irish economic growth and prosperity has been remarkable over recent years, it has come at an environmental cost. Decisive action is needed in Ireland to decouple emissions and economic growth and build the foundations of a sustainable, competitive low carbon economy.

The next government must:
1. Bring together industry, trade unions, environmental groups, local representative groups and political parties to chart and implement an agreed way forward on climate change;
2. Meet our international climate obligations;
3. Promote climate smart planning to help enable the roll-out of strategic energy, infrastructure, the development of public transport, afforestation and carbon sequestration;
4. Introduce new supports and incentives to help businesses and households improve their energy efficiency and encourage new renewable technologies.

4. Law-making that creates the conditions for business success and a competitive labour market

Our law-making process needs to better reflect our culture as an agile, pro-business nation. Those who will be affected by decisions need to be more involved when policy is being developed. We need an approach to employment regulation, child and elder care, lifelong learning, retirement, social welfare, pensions and taxation that promotes work, keeps people engaged and doesn’t disincentivise work.

1. Introduce a responsive model of economic and social dialogue that allows businesses and employees to play a meaningful role in policy formation;
2. Reform the current employment, social protection and pensions systems so they reflect social and economic change and pro-actively support people staying in jobs, moving between jobs and those returning to the labour market;
3. Ensure that law-making minimises the impact on Irish businesses’ ability to compete and addresses the burden of regulations in a fair and transparent manner.



Ibec - General Election 2020 pdf | 906.2 kb