Costs breeding Brexit ‘complacency’

Three-quarters of Irish companies are under pressure from rising salary and insurance costs, according to a survey, with more than half saying high costs are forcing them to divert funds away from company growth and investment purposes, writes Geoff Percival

The ‘cost of doing business’ survey from business intelligence company Vision-net suggests that costs are contributing to Brexit complacency among Irish firms, with just 37% of respondents saying Brexit will increase their.

“Most Irish businesses agree that Ireland is a more expensive place to do business today than it was before the crash,” said Vision-net managing director Christine Cullen.

“Against this backdrop, Brexit is low on businesses’ priority list. Only a minority feel that it will have any effect on their business. This likely means that few have contingency plans in place in case the UK departs the EU without a trade deal, or if new tariffs and regulations are introduced that negatively affect Irish exports,” she added.

She said that even planning for a worst-case scenario will help minimise the impact of a hard Brexit.

Meanwhile, “urgent reform” is needed to improve Ireland’s pension system and protect the country’s ageing population, global consulting giant Mercer has said.

A survey from the company has ranked Ireland 12th out of 30 countries for its pension system, with it scoring highly for adequacy and governance, but low for providing sustainable income for people in retirement.

“Statistics indicate that less than half of Irish workers are currently saving in occupational pension schemes. In light of the pressures that this puts on the state pension and the €560bn pension savings gap that this country faces, it is imperative that the 2021 target for increasing coverage and levels of pension savings is met,” Mercer Ireland senior defined contribution consultant Peter Burke said.

The Government is expected to detail its new five-year ‘roadmap’ for pension reform before the end of the year, and Mercer said it is looking forward to hearing further details — particularly regarding minimum contribution rates, eligibility criteria and tax relief arrangements.

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