Kehlan Kirwan reviews Budget 2017

Kehlan Kirwan finds little in the Budget that will inspire entrepreneurs and start-ups. The Government’s priorities appear to be fixed on multinationals and not domestic small businesses.

I had planned to write about what Budget 2017 was like for startups and small business in this column, but I honestly couldn’t think of that much to talk about.

As the Irish Examiner’s business desk has noted, the proposed share-based incentive scheme for SMEs will not be introduced until Budget 2018 and will require the approval of the European Commission beforehand.

Overall, measures aimed at SMEs and the self-employed were only given cautious welcomes.

Business group the SFA said there was nothing to “Brexit-proof” SMEs, while Isme said the self-employed continue to be treated unfairly and still more needs to be done for entrepreneurs.

The start-your-own business scheme has been extended for two more years and entrepreneur relief has been improved with capital gains tax on the disposal of assets worth up to €1m halving to 10%.

Mr Noonan said he would review the €1m limit in future budgets.

“By announcing his intention to keep this threshold under review Minister Noonan has recognised one of its shortcomings,” said CPA Ireland director David Fitzgerald. 

“The equivalent threshold in the UK is £10m. For the measure to have a widespread impact for SMEs it must be increased.”

Deloitte’s head of tax Lorraine Griffin said the change was not enough to “move the dial in terms of driving entrepreneurship”.

“The measures to close the disparity between the employed and self- employed are also to be welcomed, but there is more focus required in the coming years,” she said.

Mr Noonan said the start-your-own business scheme extension will be “of real benefit” to long-term jobless.

I bumped into the CEO of a very successful Irish technology company during the week. The company is a global leader in its field.

He told me that it is looking at opening offices in Belfast because “the system here is designed for startups to succeed”.

He went on to explain that the Republic is lagging in incentives it offers entrepreneurs.

So a region going through massive economic upheaval thanks to Brexit is now a better prospect than the Republic. That tells you all you need to know about just how progressive we’ve become.

We are in a unique position in that, thanks to our lethargy, we can see what works and what doesn’t in other parts of the world. 

How has Silicon Valley become the powerhouse of startups? 

How does the UK create a better system than we do? 

How come Berlin, Sao Paulo or Toronto can create a better system then we can?

It is perhaps an oversimplification, I know, but we should be cherry-picking what we need by seeing where and how they have succeeded.

‘The best place in the world in which to do business’ is an empty slogan. It was a slogan manufactured by Enda Kenny to sell to a public who don’t understand business needs.

Last week in this column I spoke about our over-reliance on the IDA, and how communities want a share of the ‘magic bullet’ that multinationals supposedly provide. I think this budget will only reinforce the perception that too much is lavished on multinationals.

We give everything we can to the businesses and corporations which don’t need it. Meanwhile, domestic start-ups are forced to seek a better future elsewhere.

The short-term thinking is exacerbating.

So that was the week that was. Those were the things worth talking about. None of them involve Irish start-ups or SMEs and the Budget. No headlines worth talking about, again.

So here are some headlines actually worth reading. Did you see Connacht’s magnificent win against Toulouse? What a comeback from Pat Lam’s men. Wonderful courage.

How about Michelle Obama’s eloquent speech on the US presidential campaign trail. The swords are out for ‘the Donald’ and he’s falling on every one of them.

What about the Republic of Ireland only being edged out from the top of the World Cup qualifying group on goal difference, a great start to the campaign.

Scotland’s almost certainly wants out of the Union as the sterling keeps nose diving, the UK is learning the hard way about the promises of ‘soft landings’.

Marmite, one of the worst foods ever made, hits the headlines. Now not only does it taste terrible, it’ll be more expensive to buy.

The ASTI announced teachers will be going on strike. Kids around the country rejoice and parents sigh. The gap in teachers’ pay remains.

In a week that saw a national campaign on mental health encourage people to have no fear of opening up, it was revealed over 450 people in Ireland committed suicide last year. More than one every day.

Dundalk FC took a big step towards the Airtricity league title with big a win over Cork.

Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Many see it as controversial, but it is a long time coming. Just read the lyrics to ‘It’s Alright, Ma’ and tell me he doesn’t deserve it.

I moved house to a lovely part of Ennis town.

We finally have a house to call our own and make something of. We have moved house in two different countries a total of seven times in seven years. This will be our last move.

Lots of terrible things happened in Syria.

Footballer Ched Evans was found not guilty of rape, after a retrial.

Cruise missiles were fired at the US navy ship the USS Mason from forces in Yemen. The US launches several missiles into Yemen targeting Houthi radar bases.

The GAA fixtures for next year’s championships were announced, Tipperary v Cork in the hurling is a standout fixture. Kerry wonders how they can beat Dublin in the football.

Google searches in Mayo for ‘breaking curses’ rises by 500%.

Paul O’Connell was on The Last Word with Matt Cooper and talked about his new book. 

It was a brilliant interview and amazing to hear some of O’Connell’s insights.

Speaking of books, Bruce Springsteen’s biography looks like it’s going to be an amazing read. I’m a Boss fan so I’ll probably read that before Paul O’Connell’s. Sorry Paul.

The Nevada state senate approves a €750m stadium deal for a new American football team to come to Las Vegas. 

The deal will raise taxes in the state to pay for it. In related news, the state’s education system is announced as the worst in US.

There are 68 days till Christmas.

Yet another opportunity missed to make headlines. I always sit down every year with an expectation that this is the time the penny drops. 

This is when they’ll get it. Every year it doesn’t happen.

I see so many articles written by people in the sectors about what could have been done. Could have, should have, would have.

They are empty words on a page, lost on a Government which clearly hasn’t the slightest interest in encouraging or fostering progression in Irish domestic business.

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