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Directors warn on austerity tolerance

Thursday, June 19 13:28:05

Budget 2015 marks a turning point in terms of the level of tolerance for austerity among directors in Ireland, the Government has been told.

Research shows that while 61pc of directors describe the austerity budges of recent years as necessary to address Ireland's economic difficulties, there is less agreement about the level of austerity needed, the Institute of Directors in Ireland said in its pre- budget submission today.

Forty-four percent of directors surveyed believe less than the proposed E2 billion should taken in the next budget.

The survey found overwhelming support among directors for a reduction in income tax in Budget 2015, with 77pc calling for income tax to be reduced. Of those, 81pc cite an increase in the tax band ceiling of E32,800 as the top income tax priority in Budget 2015.

The institute found it worrying that 79pc consider Ireland's income tax rates and levies on pay as a barrier to attracting and retaining talent, with 61pc of those surveyed seeing current income tax and levies as the top threat to Ireland's competitiveness as a place to do business.

In the wake of recent elections in which Government parties did very poorly, it is not surprising that directors were concerned about the stability of the current Government but a huge 90pc said this was one of the biggest issues facing Ireland. Three-quarters (75pc) said the recent election results represented a negative shift in Ireland's political landscape.

The pre-budget submission also called for more support for SMEs and said there should be no further cuts to the education or job creation budgets.

Institute Chief Executive Maura Quinn said: "We have experienced a period of tremendous economic difficulty, which has seriously impacted some of the most vulnerable sectors in our society. While we recognise that the difficult budgets in recent years have been necessary in the context of economic recovery, we are now at a turning point in terms of the level of tolerance for further austerity measures.

"As we look to Budget 2015, with increasing pressure on the coalition, impending cabinet reshuffles and a leadership race in the Labour party, the Government must remain steadily focused on the core task in hand - rebuilding, renewing and reinvigorating the Irish economy."