Ibec responds to Budget 2024

Responding to Budget 2024, Ibec CEO Danny McCoy stated, "Budget 2024 strikes the right balance between investment ambition while further enhancing social cohesion. The establishment of the National Infrastructure Fund best demonstrates this. The fund will ensure the protection of public capital projects during cyclical downturns, reduce the need for 'catch-up' spending, provide improved value for money, and offer greater certainty to sectors downstream of infrastructure delivery. This, in turn, would enable organisations to build capacity and retain skills in both the public and private sectors.

Currently, the most pressing challenge for businesses is the rising costs. Considering inflation and labour demand, it appears that we are in or approaching the peak of the economic cycle. It is essential that we maintain a stable footing and remain as cost competitive as possible. While today's budget takes significant steps in providing appropriate support, ongoing labour challenges and cost issues will continue to be obstacles in the years ahead.

Furthermore, while Ibec is disappointed that the National Training Fund (NTF) could not be unlocked in this Budget, we welcome the intention set out to find ways, including possible legislative changes to unlock the fund. Ireland cannot afford to be complacent when it comes to education, skills, innovation and productivity. In a highly competitive global environment, it is crucial to foster, enhance, and promote high value investment. The National Training Fund can help us deliver the key skills for the 21st century. Businesses will continue to work closely with the Government to find a practical and pragmatic solution to unlock the €1.5 billion surplus in the NTF to ensure that education and training remain essential components of Irish competitiveness."

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Gerard Brady is the Chief Economist at Ibec. His role involves regular analysis of economic issues for a business audience, shaping Ibec's economic, tax and fiscal policy positions and advising companies and sectoral organisations. He is a current member on the National Economic and Social Council (NESC) and the National Statistics Board. He also represents Irish business in a number of international economic and tax fora such as Business at the OECD (BIAC) and BusinessEurope. Prior to joining Ibec in 2013, Gerard worked as a Lecturer in Economics in University College Cork. He is a previous winner of the Miriam Hederman O’Brien prize awarded by the Foundation for Fiscal Studies.

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