Minister Damien English meets with Meath businesses for a Pre-Budget meeting
Members of Meath County Chamber met on zoom Friday the 01st of October to discuss Pre budget matters with Damien English, TD Minister for Business, Employment & Retail. The meeting was chaired by Alan Byrne, Principal of Marsh Mackey Accountancy firm in Navan. The meeting was open to all business owners in Meath and discussed key areas in the Chambers 2022 Budget Submission.
Town Centre First Framework, the EWSS, staff incentives and more were discussed at the meeting. Minister English began by stating that the Budget preparations have been ongoing since last July but it is in the coming weeks that final decisions will to be made. Minister English is confident that Ireland can recover quite quickly from the Covid 19 pandemic in regards business and the economy.
Alan Byrne posed the question to Minister English on the plans for the Towns and Cities Strategy framework and if this would be made a priority in the Budget. In reply the minister stressed the commitment of the government to the Town First Framework to develop existing vacant buildings, working spaces and a city living initiative- especially for older people. Chambers of Commerce across Ireland will also be involved in this framework.
In reply to the continuing of the EWSS support for employers, Minister English recognised that it was the most valuable support out there now for recovering businesses in the County. “The EWSS will be in place until the end of December and there will be an announcement next week on whether that date will be extended or not.” He also mentioned that the EWSS is a more favourable support now over the Pandemic unemployment payment which over 100,000 people are still receiving.
The Governments Small Benefits Exemption Scheme where company Directors and Employees can receive a non-cash bonus of up to €500 in value on a completely tax-free basis each year was also discussed. Alan Byrne put forward to the Minister that it would be a direct injection of revenue into the economy if this bonus could be raised to €1,000 tax free. Mr English felt that there was not a strong desire in the Department of finance to increase the tax-free allowance on this bonus. Looking forward to Governments plans to reward front line workers, Paula McCaul, CEO of County Meath Chamber pointed out that the new Mí Meath shop local scheme is ideally placed to roll out any such scheme in County Meath. Mí Meath is fully regulated and secure. The scheme was developed to keep money circulating in Meath and support Meath jobs. All commission generated from Mí Meath will also remain in the county. It’s a win, win says Paula”.
Also discussed in the meeting was the Redundancy rebate scheme, debt warehousing, the capital gains tax rate and capital acquisitions tax. Minister English discussed all the matters set out but warned that there was a balancing act with reducing taxes.
More positive news was in the form of the commercial rates subsidies waiver. Minister English is quite hopeful that the rates waiver will be extended for some businesses who were particularly affected. He is hoping for a positive announcement on this in the next few weeks. The VAT rate for the hospitality industry is set to remain at 9% until September 2022 and this will be looked at again for Budget 2023.
Jack O’Connell, a business owner from Dunshaughlin asked the question on work permits and visa’s and if there was a plan to reduce the skills and labour shortages being experienced all over the County. Minister English stressed that there is a system in place for work permits and all of this is currently being looked at. “You are entitled to apply for a permit at any time and only last week another business in County Meath was granted a permit for workers”
Mr English finished the meeting stating that the Navan rail-line project was on-going, and all developments have been positive so far in regards the feasibility studies. No major announcement will be made about the project until these surveys and studies are completed in 2022. All the business owners present thanked Minister English for his time.
On his ongoing engagement with the Chambers Ireland network, including Meath Chamber, Minister English said “The post pandemic recovery in Ireland will be led by our local SME businesses and entrepreneurs along with the larger companies in the country who are determined to grow their trade and create new business and job opportunities. I was delighted to engage again with County Meath Chamber members and hear first-hand their views on Government policies and answer their questions on the upcoming budget which hopefully will help them to continue to achieve their ambitions.”
The recording of the meeting is available to all County Meath Chamber members. For more information and for details on how to become a member of County Meath Chamber please contact firstname.lastname@example.org