Pictured at the Shannon Chamber/Grant Thornton Budget 2024 breakfast briefing (from left): Damian Gleeson, partner in charge, Grant Thornton; Éanna McGarrigle, Tax Manager, Grant Thornton; Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber; Stephen Kinsella, Professor of Economics, University of Limerick; and Theresa O’Gorman, Director, Tax, Grant Thornton. Photo by Eamon Ward.
In the context of where Ireland was ten years ago, with an unemployment rate of 16%, close on €6 billion being taken out of the economy in the Budget, up to 300,000 workers being exported every year, and the potential of the nation defaulting on its debt, Budget 2024 could be considered boring.
This was the context in which Stephen Kinsella, Professor of Economics at the University of Limerick, set his commentary on Budget 2024 when he addressed Shannon Chamber members and guests, and Grant Thornton clients, at the annual post-Budget breakfast briefing hosted by the two organisations in the Radisson Blu Hotel in Limerick today.
“Ireland is in a very different place today. Unemployment has never been lower, and we are importing workers. It’s not surprising, therefore, that we might consider this budget boring,” he said.
Explaining that every human in Ireland has about €12,000 spent on them, a figure that will, most likely, increase in the years ahead, Mr Kinsella said that the avoidance of a dip in the economy dictated the Government’s budgetary strategy.
“The Government has delivered a Budget that reflects the fact that Ireland is at the top of a very booming cycle, with interest rates bottoming out, and inflation moderating. Overstimulating the economy was not an option. The alternative was to plan for the future and that is what the Government is doing,” he added.
Describing the PRSI changes in Budget 2024 as a new ‘pay for the old people tax’ he said that, in taking on the one hand and giving back in PAYE, was very smart policy, delivered by a group of politicians that have learnt from the introduction of taxes such as the water and property tax and very fitting for an ageing society.
Turning his attention to the new funds announced in Budget 2024, the Future Ireland Fund’ and the ‘Infrastructure, Climate and Nature Fund’, he said that, in setting them up, the Government is providing the foundations for an economy where we will have older people.
“There will be booms and busts, but we will have the resilience and the resources to cope. Had the Government chosen to spend this money, it would have caused more inflation and poorer people to be worse off.
“This is one of the most progressive budgets in the history of the State,” he said.
“Poorer households will be ten per cent better off, richer households 2%. Ten years ago, we were talking about national default; our biggest problem now is where to put the extra €10billion. That’s an amazing positive place to be in.”
Key presenters at the Shannon Chamber/Grant Thornton Budget 2024 breakfast briefing were Theresa O’Gorman, Director, Tax, and Éanna McGarrigle, Tax Manager, Grant Thornton. In summarising the impact of the Budget on individuals and companies, they described it as having something for everyone and advised attendees to prepare for the introduction of ‘Enhanced Reporting Requirements’, which will come into effect in January 2024, requiring employers to report details of certain payments made to employees and directors.
Chamber CEO Helen Downes described Budget 2024 as one that has households and families as its focus.
“The extra support for business and for transport infrastructure included in the Budget is welcome. Shannon Chamber will be looking at the measures being introduced to improve the delivery of housing as this is an issue that greatly concerns our members. The lack of housing impacts companies’ talent attraction and retention policies as we made clear to Minister Simon Coveney when he addressed members last week.”