Cork business group wants end to ‘discrimination’ of self-employed

USC and tax credits reform needed so self-employed have same rights as PAYE workers

Cork Chamber president, Barrie O’Connell said sustainable economic and community development was critical for the country. Photograph: Darragh Kane

Cork Chamber president, Barrie O’Connell said sustainable economic and community development was critical for the country. Photograph: Darragh Kane


Business group, Cork Chamber has called on the next government to end the “tax discrimination” of the self-employed by aligning USC and tax credits for those working for themselves with those of PAYE workers.

It also wants to introduce social protection for the self-employed.

In its pre-election manifesto, the group also called for a simplification of personal taxation and the reduction of the marginal taxation rate below 50 per cent.

It urged restraint in relation to increases to the national minimum wage in a bid to maintain the competitiveness of Irish businesses.

Speaking at the launch of the group’s manifesto, ‘Cork’s Call - A Vision for 2021’, Chamber president, Barrie O’Connell said it was critical for Cork and for the country generally that sustainable economic and community development was pursued by general election candidates.

“Above all, the incoming government must provide the stability and political leadership required to sustain our economic recovery and proactively make decisions to ensure Ireland and Cork retains its competitiveness in an increasingly globalised market,” he said.

“We challenge each party to achieve an appropriate balance between investment, providing essential services efficiently, while maintaining an appropriately broad tax base which is attractive for individuals and companies to locate and live here.

Mr O’Connell said a key goal must be to increase the supply of private sector residential houses so Cork can “house our jobs”.

The Chamber has called for the appointment of a Minister for Housing and Infrastructure and the set-up of a single overarching housing body to address this need.

The new government should also introduce central government-backed finance for local authorities to deliver infrastructure such as critical roads, surface-water and transport links needed to realise new housing development in areas with high demand, according to the chamber.

Barriers to house building, including a review of tax costs linked to the building of residential properties in areas with high-demand and reducing the building regulations, which the Chamber says are out of line with international norms, also need to be addressed.

Cork Chamber chief executive, Conor Healy said another priority for the chamber was the completion of all planned flood relief schemes in Cork as well as resolving the issue of flood insurance for businesses and homeowners in flood-prone areas.

The chamber was also seeking a commitment to funding and timelines for all road projects included in the Capital Plan 2016-2021, ensuring that the Dunkettle Interchange commences in 2016, advancing the N28 to Ringaskiddy upgrade, and guaranteeing that tolls will not be introduced on the Jack Lynch Tunnel.

The chamber also wanted to see planning start on the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway and proactively seek funding for this key infrastructure piece on financial markets along with improvements in public transports including reducing Cork-Dublin rail travel time to two hours.