Cork Chamber reacts to Budget 2023
Cork Chamber say it’s not yet clear whether the €1.2 billion package of supports announced in yesterday’s Budget will be enough to support businesses through the winter.
The group made the comments after the Finance Minister Paschal Donohue and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath commended Budget 2023 to the Dáil.
Chamber has welcomed the scale of the budget at a time of an unprecedented energy and inflation crisis but has cautioned that more supports may be needed
Businesses have warned that they will not survive the winter if energy bills continue to spiral.
Under a new scheme announce yesterday, businesses will get 40% of their increased energy bill back up to a monthly cap of €10,000
Speaking to RedFM News, Conor Healy from Cork Chamber says the government must be open to extending the scheme.
“I think they have announced a very strong scheme, but what’s not yet clear is whether the caps that have been introduced to those schemes are going to be overly limiting.
“Businesses are facing very significant challenges, so whether that that 40% level is going to hinder businesses benefiting to the extent necessary is a bit unclear yet.
“While we welcome that, we certainly are asking government to be open to reviewing and revisiting the scale and the nature of this over the next number of weeks and months, as the challenges continue to emerge for business.”
Speaking to RedFM News, President of Cork Business Association Kevin Herlihy says the energy scheme needs to be rolled out as quickly as possible.
“At the CBA we welcome the energy support for businesses, but we’d now ask that the supports are implemented smoothly and quickly so that businesses can draw down the supports effectively and without undue red tape or delays.
“The announcements that have been made are certainly pro-business.”
Elsewhere for Cork under the Budget, the BusConnects corridors are to be rolled out and funding has been allocated for construction of Phase 1 of the Cork Area Commuter Rail programme, while funding has also been made available for the Ballyvourney to Macroom bypass and the Dunkettle Interchange upgrade.
€6 million has also been allocated to Cork Airport for the introduction of a state-of-the-art security screening system.
Meanwhile, the social protection minister has defended the €12 increase in welfare payments, saying other targeted measures need to be taken into account.
Representative groups such as Age Action and Alone have criticised the increase for pensioners, with both groups recommending an increase of over €20.
But Minister Heather Humphreys says other measures need to be considered alongside the weekly increase.