Belfast Telegraph

Government 'must secure recovery'

Irish consumers are no longer gripped by the fear factor, it has been claimed.

Business group Ibec said rising employment, strong consumer optimism, recovering retail sales and an improving export market pointed to a solid recovery.

But, the lobby group warned tax cuts were still needed to stimulate further economic growth.

Ibec chief economist Fergal O'Brien said: "Now is the time to secure the recovery. The Government must take steps in the budget to ease pressure on households."

In its latest edition of the Consumer Monitor - a comprehensive new overview of consumer trends - Ibec said t here was scope for 300 million euros worth of income tax reductions, a 100 million euro reduction in consumer taxes and the abolition of the pension levy in the 2015 Budget.

The report also claimed that with 65,000 more people employed than two years ago, Government pressure on social welfare spending should ease.

Mr O'Brien added: "Reducing tax could lead to a 4% rise in disposable income next year."

The Government is expected to unveil its 2015 Budget plans next month.

Ibec, which has previously urged the Government to draw a line under austerity, also called for more to be done to bring back the 50,000 young people who emigrated from Ireland during the downturn.

"We now need to introduce policies that encourage greater numbers of recent emigrants to come home.

"This should involve tax cuts, further institutional reform and increased investment in infrastructure and education," said Mr O'Brien.

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