National Competitiveness Council wants to see new site evaluation tax

Economy | Thu 10 Dec | Author – Business & Finance

The National Competitiveness Council suggests replacing commercial rates and the vacant sites tax with a new tax to assist the development of large-scale infrastructure projects.

The National Competitiveness Council reports to the Taoiseach and the Government on key competitiveness issues facing the Irish economy and offers recommendations on policy actions required to enhance Ireland’s competitive position.

The council suggested a series of recommendations in its latest assessment of competitiveness challenges in Ireland today.

The Competitiveness Challenge 2015 report stated it is necessary to ‘significantly increase the capital expenditure budget, beyond the increases flagged in the Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021 plan.

It also stated that there is ‘essentially no scope for investment in infrastructure improvements (which are) vital to cater for future demand growth’.

The National Competitiveness council also recommends establishing a new pension reserve fund or sovereign wealth fund and called for an investigation into the issue of higher interest charges on bank loans for Irish SMEs, compared to similar companies elsewhere in Europe.

It said the rate of personal income tax is an issue for attracting skilled talent to Ireland, and for containing labour costs, and recommends reducing the top marginal rate below 50%.

The council also highlighted a shortage of skills among Irish workers, a problem evident in the country’s high level of youth unemployment.