Driving Ireland`s Recovery - IBEC

IBEC, the group that represents Irish business, today launched its 'Action Plan for Recovery: 50 Ideas to Drive Growth', which calls for major reform and creative investment initiatives to support job creation, restore domestic demand and deliver world class public services. The plan is part of IBEC's Driving Ireland's Recovery campaign, launched earlier in the year. The plan would be delivered at no net additional cost to the Exchequer.

Speaking at the launch in IBEC head office, Dublin, Director General Danny McCoy said: "The positive outcome from the recent EU summit should reduce Ireland's sovereign debt burden and improve sustainability, but to make real progress we need economic growth to take off. Exports are doing well, but we need all sectors of the economy to fire on all cylinders.

"This week's announcement by Government on infrastructure projects is a step in the right direction but we need an ambitious growth strategy that covers the whole economy. Decisive action is needed to restore consumer spending, reform the labour market, and provide new funding streams to finance business start-ups and expansion. We are realists and none of the stand-alone actions we propose is a game changer. There is no simple, single solution: the Government and private sector need to take action on a wide range of fronts."

IBEC's Action Plan for Recovery (see attached pdf for full details) sets out a range of practical ideas from the business community, which aim to make a real difference to Ireland's recovery. They include:

Support job creation: To ensure businesses and entrepreneurs have access to credit, the action plan calls for: a new state-backed investment bank, financed by the European Investment Bank and the National Pensions Reserve Fund to deliver financing through the existing banking network (Action 1); the establishment of internationally recognised property investment funds, to facilitate international investment in the sector (Action 4); and an improved tax offering for mobile investment, to ensure that we stay ahead of competitor jurisdictions such as the UK (Action 7). To tackle unemployment, we need to ensure that there is a structure to support people getting back to work or onto training courses, and to enforce the conditionality around unemployment assistance. (Action 10) and an overhaul of the work visa regime to make it easier for top talent and skilled graduates to work in Ireland (Action 13).

Restore domestic demand: The Action Plan sets out a range of proposals to kick-start the domestic economy, including reform of pension rules to allow people to unlock and use part of their AVC and personal pension savings (Action 25); tax incentives to encourage additional home renovation activity and move work from the informal to the formal economy (Action 26); and a new social welfare smart card system, to ensure child benefit payments are spent in the domestic economy (Action 27).

Deliver world-class public services: Despite some positive steps, the pace of public sector reform needs to accelerate. The Action Plan calls for more flexible work practices in the public sector (Action 43, 44); reform of public procurement procedures to give SMEs a chance to compete for contracts (Action 48); and greater use of outsourcing as a means of saving money and improving services (Action 49).

"The Irish economy has the potential to grow by 3-4% per year over the next 20 years, but to achieve this we need to reform the labour market, modernise the public sector and boost investment and economic activity. Growth will deliver the recovery, but we can't just sit back and wait for it to happen. The right policies can help restore our economic fortunes, but the wrong ones will prolong the economic pain," concluded Mr McCoy.

See more about this campaing at www.ibec.ie/drivingirelandsrecovery. Join in the conversation at LinkedIn - Driving Ireland's Recovery

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