The Irish Exporters Association’s (IEA) Chief Simon McKeever gave his reaction to the announcement of Budget 2022 and deemed the budgetary proposal by the Minister for Finance and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform as “balanced, innovation focused and climate driven”. In its pre-budget submission Supporting an Export-led Recovery the Association made several calls on government under the themes of emerging stronger from the pandemic, adapting to Brexit and supporting market diversification, addressing the climate crisis and reinstating a global and connected Ireland.
The Association welcomes the Minister’s acknowledgement of the many challenges facing businesses including increased shipping costs, increase in energy prices, labour shortages and the shortage of raw materials. These are critical issues for IEA members at present and are hampering efforts to plan ahead.
- The extension of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) until the end of April 2022. The announcement will give clarity to those businesses relying on the EWSS.
- Income tax deduction amounting to 30% of the cost of vouched expenses for heat, electricity and broadband for those working from home.
- Childcare supports should go some way in addressing the current labour and talent shortage.
- Proposed €90 million aviation package and measures to support the sector. These measures and supports will go some way to reinstate air connectivity, which is two-fold in its benefits to passengers and cargo capacity.
- Climate change measures including:
- €700 million in capital investment by the Department of the Environment, Climate & Communications.
- Accelerated Capital Allowance scheme for energy efficient equipment will be extended for gas vehicles and refuelling equipment for three years and the extension of the scheme to include hydrogen powered vehicles and refuelling equipment.
- Extension of funding for training programmes in sustainability
- Measures to decarbonise the transport sector.
- Brexit Adjustment Reserve:
- Enterprise supports, reskilling and retraining, checks at ports and airports
- Increased funding to Department of Foreign Affairs to deepen response to Brexit.
Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association Simon McKeever commented: “Budget 2022 comes at a time when businesses and the wider society are dealing with the ongoing impact that Covid-19 has had on lives and finances as well as the ever-lengthening Brexit-tail, and at a crucial time as businesses are just beginning to draw breath and look to the future.
The Brexit Adjustment Reserve is an important instrument for our members who have shown increasing resilience since the UK’s departure from the EU. We welcome that the Reserve will be directed towards enterprise supports, reskilling, retraining and facilitating checks at ports and airports. In terms of supports, we call for the continuation of the Ready for Customs Grant to financially support those businesses which are performing customs procedures in-house. Supports are also needed to support businesses that will soon be dealing with the increased paperwork associated with the UK’s phasing-in of import controls.
The price and availability of accommodation is an impediment to encourage some workers to return to Ireland and whilst we welcome the measures announced, these will not alleviate matters in the short term.
I welcome that Budget 2022 is climate focused. However, until constructive and robust consideration is made to creating effective synergies between businesses and relevant departments, we believe that significant change will not be achieved. It is in all of our interests to achieve the carbon neutrality aim set down in the Climate Action Act 2021 and the EU Green Deal and it will require further policy and stakeholder coherence.”