With little money available and the Brexit cloud continuing to swirl, Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced a modest budget aiming to protect the economy. There were some positive announcements for business as well as some missed opportunities.
The EU is still scrutinising a competition ruling which may lead to it insisting the Government retrieve as much as €25m from potentially hundreds of business people who benefited from the country’s leading tax incentive business scheme which was designed to help SMEs.
Jobs Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s failure to fill Brexit roles, with just one in four recruited, has been criticised as firms face an “existential crisis” with Britain’s EU exit on the horizon.
Small business lobby group Isme has slammed the level of bank lending to SMEs as “concerning” and “disappointing” after revealing the loan refusal rate has jumped from 23% to 28% of applications during the second quarter of the year.
Many moderate and reasonable people were no doubt surprised to read that an estate agent was fined on grounds of discrimination for having advised a single mum with a toddler, who was on a HAP housing scheme, that the owner of the property ‘would prefer to rent to a couple’.
Mel Brooks sang a wonderful ditty in his 1983 comedy To Be or Not to Be. In full Hitler garb, he looks sincerely into the camera and says “All I want is peace. Peace. Peace!’ Then comes the punchline: ‘A little piece of Poland, a little piece of France, A little piece of Portugal and Austria perchance...”
A report by a leading academic has called for lending restrictions on credit unions to be eased in order to provide consumers with more mortgage options — for which there is “pent-up demand”, according to one of the sector’s biggest bodies.