Funding from Budget 2018 will assist local businesses in Cork, ensuring they are supported to face the challenges of Brexit, Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, has said.
A welcome announcement during Budget 2018 was An Tánaiste, Frances Fitzgerald, securing a €40 million increase in her Department’s capital budget – a record capital allocation for the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation.
Senator Lombard said: “This is a pro-business Budget and the record level of multi-annual funding and the tax measures announced will allow us to support small businesses in Cork, and indeed wider Ireland, in dealing with the challenges of Brexit.
“This Budget strikes the right balance between maintaining the stability of our public finances, improving our competitiveness, and supporting job creation. Improvements in the areas of housing, childcare, health and education will all improve the business environment here in Cork, laying the foundations for future jobs growth.
“Ever since the Brexit referendum passed in June 2016, business owners in Cork have been telling me that access to working capital is a key issue. In response to this need the Tánaiste, along with the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, have announced a new €300m Brexit Loan Scheme which will reduce the cost of borrowing and provide much needed headroom to viable businesses at this uncertain time.
“I want businesses in Cork to know that the Government and its agencies are ready to engage. If you are concerned about Brexit, and have not yet taken steps to address those concerns, Enterprise Ireland and the Local Enterprise Offices can help you – as can the trade representative bodies such as IBEC, SFA, Chambers Ireland, ISME.
“To ensure a combined approach to Brexit across the country and the globe, an additional €3 million has been allocated to double the additional Brexit-related staff in Enterprise Ireland, IDA, Science Foundation Ireland and the Health & Safety Authority.
“Fine Gael is determined to drive further jobs growth in every region in Ireland. Recent CSO data is encouraging, illustrating that 4 out of every 5 new jobs being created are outside Dublin.
“Enterprise Ireland’s €63 million capital investment budget will allow it to build on the 201,000 jobs its client companies already directly support, while IDA’s €137 million capital programme will support the ongoing rollout of its Regional Property Programme.
“Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs) are a key element in supporting local entrepreneurship and enterprise. Their funding has increased from €18.5m two years ago to €22.5m for next year.
“In May Enterprise Ireland launched a new regional enterprise development fund to support the regional Action Plan for Jobs and encourage collaborative initiatives building on local strengths. I’m delighted that this Budget enables Enterprise Ireland to proceed with a further competitive fund call for proposals for €25m to support regional initiatives this coming January.
“The Budget’s tax package is aimed at stimulating greater levels of local investment and to reward those who take the risks involved in creating jobs for others.
“I strongly welcome the new share based remuneration incentive – KEEP – which will help SMEs attract and retain key employees in a competitive labour market by providing for an advantageous tax treatment on share options.
“Self-employed workers in Cork will benefit from the increase in the Earned-Income Credit for the Self-Employed by €200 to €1,150. This is further progress along the road to tax equalisation for the self-employed, something Fine Gael has prioritised across a number of Budgets now.
“Reductions to the USC rates and the marginal rate of tax will help drive further job creation, as will the retention of the special 9% VAT rate for tourism.
“The gains we have made since the dark days of the recession are hard won and they are fragile, especially in the context of Brexit. However we are in a position to protect our economic recovery and use some of the resources it provides to give all people and businesses here in Cork a fair chance, and the opportunity to reach their full potential.”