The countdown is on for next tomorrow's reveal by the Finance Minister. EMMA CONNOLLY asked some locals what they were hoping to hear
Michael O’Neill Jnr, Fernhill House, Clonakilty:
AS someone who is involved in the tourist industry, the big issue is the 9% VAT rate. Tourism is vitally important for jobs and communities especially in rural areas like West Cork. The 9% VAT rate has helped create over 60,000 new jobs since its introduction. Additionally, it is not particularly low by European standards. It effectively is just levelling the playing field and to increase it would be disastrous for our competitiveness, especially with Brexit in its early stages. We are a small island so we have to make ourselves as attractive as possible for tourists. This strategy is working in regards to our corporate tax structure, and should be continued for tourism. If we have less tourists to buy things like lunches or afternoon tea at Fernhill, then it means less wages for staff, suppliers, investment and the government.
From a personal point of view, I got married last year and my wife Freda and I are expecting a baby for November. As a young married couple, we have found the housing market extremely difficult. It is the same for many of our friends. Housing has to be a priority.
Jason Field, GM, Blackwater Motors, Skibbereen:
FROM a motor industry point of view, we’d like to see a review of VRT on new cars – either the tax reduced or else the tax increased on imports. It’s been a very hard year for UK imports so far.
But the most important thing would be to have people’s tax burden reduced so they have more disposable income – people hit the maximum tax band when they earn just shy of €32,000.
We are like any other retailer – if people have more money in their pockets, they will be spending on everything from food to luxury items, like cars. It’s also important that the infrastructure for electric and hybrid cars is looked at – for example, there’s only one point in Skibbereen.
Cormac Fitzgerald FCPA, Fitzgerald & Partners, Kinsale:
SMALL businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy. Companies that employ less than 50 make up more than 98% of all businesses in Ireland. Their economic importance, therefore, cannot be overstated.
I work a lot in the SME sector with entrepreneurs and would like to see something in this Budget in that regard. I know that the current CPA president is urging the promotion of share-based payment schemes for SMEs. Currently, SMEs are fighting an unequal battle between multinational companies when it comes to recruiting and retaining skilled employees.