Concern that Budget did little for self-employed, entrepreneurs

Post-Budget debate shows disagreement on whether measures will aid economic growth

Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton (left) and Mary Lou McDonald Sinn Fein, at the IBEC and Women for Election post-budget debate in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

Tanaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton (left) and Mary Lou McDonald Sinn Fein, at the IBEC and Women for Election post-budget debate in Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

Budget 2015 got a cautious welcome at a debate hosted by Ibec and the Women for Election campaign group on Thursday, but there were complaints that it had failed to provide incentives for either the self-employed or for entrepreneurs.

Among the speakers present at the post-Budget briefing event was Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton who claimed the Government had delivered a balanced Budget that was focused on economic growth.

“There’s no political party here could promise that the kind of catastrophic loss the country suffered because of the collapse of the banks can be recovered in one Budget cycle. It’s going to take a series of budgets needed to bring about a full recovery,” she said.

Introducing the panel members, which also included Sinn Fein TD Mary Lou McDonald, Fine Gael TD Aine Collins and Fianna Fail senator Averil Power, Ibec’s director of policy and corporate affairs Mary Rose Burke described the Budget as one that would support job creation.

Most panellists agreed that the ending of the controversial “double Irish” tax arrangement was a positive move but there was disagreement on whether other measures introduced in the Budget were as successful.

Ms Power described the Budget as disappointing, particularly from an educational point of view. She also said her party disagreed with the decision to cut income tax. Ms McDonald rejected claims the Budget was a vehicle for growth and criticised attempts to differentiate between the economy and society.

“Assertions around the ending of austerity were very much the mood music for the introduction of this Budget. There are some who would argue it was a Budget for recovery but I take a very different perspective on it,” she said.

Addressing concerns from audience members about the lack of measures for entrepreneurs, Ms Collins said she had spoken to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan this week about the issue and said she hoped it would be addressed in the forthcoming Finance Bill.