Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, this morning launched a major new campaign, An Ireland that works, which sets out the business priorities for the next phase of the recovery.
At a briefing at its Head Office, Ibec set out the five key areas where actions is needed and where government policy is out of line with the economic needs of the country.
Specific recommendations include: increase the income entry point to the higher marginal tax rate, reduce the marginal income tax rate below 50%, abolish the pension levy, ramp up infrastructure spend to 4% of GDP and ensure Irish interests are protected in the international tax debate. The campaign also calls for the radical reform of public sector pensions, and a fairer more transparent system of local government charges.
Ibec director of business representation Mary Rose Burke said: “Across a range of important areas the country is not working as it should and the Government needs to act. We have important choices to make on how to build on the economic progress already made, tackle unemployment and drive growth across the economy. We need to get these right.”
Irish business has identified five pressing issues that will have a major impact on Ireland’s future success:
- We need to reduce the tax burden: Ireland is out of line internationally and our income tax rates, in particular, are too high. Irish consumers deserve a break.
- We need better Government: Poorly designed policy, legislation and regulation add to the cost of doing business and are an obstacle to growth and job creation.
- We need to invest in the future: To meet our future economic needs, we need to spend much more on infrastructure projects, skills and education.
- We need to extend Ireland’s global reach: International debates on tax and EU reform could have major implications for Ireland. We need to influence and shape the agenda.
- We need to promote enterprise and entrepreneurship: Businesses need to have access to effective enterprise supports, credit and export markets. Risk needs to be rewarded.
On income tax, Burke said: “The tax system is not working for growth. The tax burden is too high and is a drag on employment, investment and consumer spending. It makes the move from welfare into work less attractive and makes it more difficult to attract mobile talent to the country. In the next budget, the Government should increase the income entry point to the higher marginal tax rate and reduce the marginal income tax rate below 50%. The unfair pensions levy should be dropped and excessive excise increases, which have put us way out of line internationally, should be reversed.”
More information is available here.