CEO Update: Enterprise Package sends right signal, but more needs to be done

May 17, 2024

Dear members,

The Government announced an SME enterprise package to address businesses' cost competitiveness challenges earlier this week. It became evident that the Government did not fully grasp the magnitude of State induced cost pressures facing businesses. Ibec launched an extensive Cost Competitiveness campaign in January to underscore the impact of rising costs. Yesterday’s announcement reflects a recognition by the Government that a different approach was necessary.

Commitments across several areas, lobbied for by Ibec in the campaign, have been delivered. Specifically, the implementation of a commitment to maintain the threshold for the higher rate of Employer PRSI above the Minimum Wage, a renewed commitment to unlock the National Training Fund, and the announcement of reviews of the implementation of changes in Statutory Sick Leave and future changes in our work permit regime.

We look forward to further material delivery on the commitments made on Wednesday in Budget 2025. In terms of the National Minimum Wage specifically, we recently submitted our views on the appropriate rate for 2025, to inform the Low Pay Commission’s recommendation to Government. Our position is that the path to introducing the Living Wage must be slowed and extended to better allow firms to adjust to rising costs and to protect employment thereby

Competitiveness was also a central theme of our three European Election hustings events across the three European Election constituencies, where candidates from the main political parties joined us for a debate and discussion on the key business issues ahead of June 7th. These elections occur at a critical juncture for Ireland and Europe, creating an uncertain business environment. To strengthen the EU and address the challenges facing business and society, Ibec was clear in our message to the candidates that competitiveness needs to be at the forefront of the next EU Parliament.

Also on the international front, I would encourage you to check out a new resource from Ibec Global – PulsePoint which provides aggregating global business data from various sources to inform strategic and operational decisions through concise visualisations and analyses across key markets. You can access Global PulsePoint here.

Finally, I'd like to remind you that if you have not yet registered, the Ibec/CBI Joint Business Council Annual All-Island Economy Conference will take place at the Ballymascanlon Hotel, Dundalk, Co. Louth on Thursday, June 13th. This will be an opportunity to hear from policy makers in the Northern Ireland Executive and the Irish Government and we will also discuss the benefits of a new macroeconomic model being developed for the all-island economy. You can register here.



Danny McCoy