Budget to include stimulus fund, AIB eyeing cost cuts, and one in three pubs fear closure

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Analysts say AIB needs to find an additional €200 million in savings to reach 2022 profit targets. Photograph: Tom Honan

Analysts say AIB needs to find an additional €200 million in savings to reach 2022 profit targets. Photograph: Tom Honan


A multibillion-euro stimulus fund to bolster the economy from the fallout of both Covid-19 and Brexit is to be one of the key planks of the Government’s budget on Tuesday. Business aid, hospitality VAT of 9 per cent and PUP changes are among the measures expected

AIB, which unveiled plans earlier this year to cut 1,500 jobs by 2020, is carrying out a fresh examination of costs as the Covid-19 economic crisis is set to weigh on bank incomes for the foreseeable future. Chief executive Colin Hunt is also expected to look at office space in Dublin, as remote working will remain a feature of the modern workplace after the pandemic. Joe Brennan reports.

The Construction Industry Federation is calling on the Government to classify construction workers as “essential”, so sites don’t have to close if Level 4 restrictions are introduced. A letter sent by the group to the Taoiseach and Tánaiste last week cites evidence of low numbers of cases on construction sites in support of its cause, writes Cliff Taylor. Meanwhile, construction activity has begun to stabilise having spent the summer recovering from the Covid-19 economic lockdown earlier in the year, according to the latest construction purchasing managers’ index (PMI)from Ulster Bank.

In good news for theadvertising industry, Irish marketers are “bullish” about fourth quarter, with brands ramping up advertising activity in the expectation that consumers will seek “to bring a bit of joy into their lives” as Christmas nears. Laura Slattery reports.

One in three publicans in Ireland see permanent closure as a possibility for their business, according to new research from the Drinks Industry Group of Ireland. A survey of more than 1,000 of their members found one-fifth of pubs were paying out up to €2,000 a week to sustain their business while generating no revenue during lockdown.

After a hiaitus due to Covid-19, the multi-million euro Central Bank-ordered inquiry into the now-defunct Irish Nationwide Building Society is set to start final-phase hearings in the coming months, but evidence dealing with “confidential borrower information” will be heard in private session, writes Joe Brennan.

In his weekly column, Chris Johns asks us to imagine the bailout that would be granted if the Covid crisis had hit lawyers, bankers, accountants and politicians instead of low-paid hospitality workers, and argues that now is the time to ramp up support for those who need it most.

Aengus Kelly, chief executife of aircraft leasing giant Aercap, is writing about how rapid Covid-19 testing at our airports is essential to get Ireland flying again.

Some people may find some joy in virtual online meetings, but for Pilita Clark, nothing can replace the joviality of jokes flying around a real office.

With budget day now on our doorstep, you can keep up to date with all our latest coverage on irishtimes.com/budget.