Cork-based business owners have described Budget 2022 as one with “no surprises” to the business community.
The Vice President of the Cork Business Association (CBA) Kevin Herlihy said that overall Budget 2022 “is not disappointing, but it’s not exciting either”.
“What we were looking for in terms of the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) going out until the end of June, they’ve given us until the end of April. I’d be disappointed certainly with that, I thought they would have kept it going out to the end of June with all the businesses that are still struggling.
In relation to the 9% VAT, they have pulled that on September 1 by the looks of it and we were hoping they would keep that for the whole of 2022 so that’s another thing that was disappointing for us.
“The carbon tax, we all knew that was coming. But it’s really disappointing that there was nothing else announced today but we’d just be hoping that the climate action plan they’re going to announce at the end of the month will be pro-business. We all want to change to a more carbon-free environment but it’s got to be worthwhile, it’s got to be feasible from a business perspective.
“The minimum wage is gone to €10.50, we were expecting that as well. It’s probably needed with the cost of living rocketing,” he said.
He said that overall, the Budget was not harsh but also “wasn’t a very beneficial budget towards the business community”.
Eddie Mullins of Fitzgerald Menswear in the city centre said that there were “no shocks” which is what was wanted now that “business has come back very strongly”.
“What’s happened here in Cork over the last while, the investments, the Docklands development, the hotels that are coming on stream, the young population we have here, the cosmopolitan atmosphere, I think Cork is on the cusp of real greatness over the next few years.
“We can feel it here, you can feel the atmosphere. New retail is opening, there’s a lot of new restaurants.
I think what the Government has done is they’ve safeguarded all these things.
"There’s no shocks, there’s good welfare support and support they put in place for businesses and for people to bring us to this point where next year I think and even Christmas will be very buoyant,” he said.
Mr Mullins said that Budget 2022 is a “broadly neutral one with something across the board for most people” and that he thinks it will “cement” the speed at which the economy will come back following the pandemic.
Cork Chamber President, Paula Cogan, said that the Budget has the potential to provide a stable segue between the pandemic and an unsuppressed economy.
“It must guide us through to 2023 without either underestimating current challenges or overheating the economy and the finer sectoral details are critical to ensure it delivers on this intent,” she said.
While Managing Director of Retail Excellence, Duncan Graham, said that this year’s Budget is “not a Budget for business” and warned that more needs to be done to assist small retailers as we emerge from the pandemic.