Waterford Chamber and PwC joined forces again this year to present their annual Budget Breakfast at Dooley’s Hotel, with support from Flahavan’s.
Opening proceeding, Kevin Doolin, Deputy President of Waterford Chamber, thanked Pwc and speaker Jim Power for their longstanding commitment to presenting a concise analysis of the Budget to the Waterford business community year on year, while also acknowledging the work Jim Power did in collating the Waterford Chamber pre-Budget submission. “We outlined a number of key asks for Waterford in our submission, around issues such as Waterford Airport, Living City, SETU, the housing crisis and more. Were our requests adhered to...I'm sure Jim will have plenty to say on that but for now, suffice to say Budget 2024 was a bit like Christmas, plenty of giving and a few bags of coal thrown in as well.”
Speaking about the impact on businesses, Melissa Fenlon, Director, PwC, said: "Minister McGrath acknowledged in his budget speech the importance of indigenous businesses, describing them as the “backbone of the economy”. A number of welcome new measures, as well as amendments to existing measures, to support these businesses were announced by the Minister.
"In particular, positive changes to the R&D tax credit were announced. The key change is an increase in the headline R&D tax credit rate from 25% to 30%. This will be very much appreciated by indigenous businesses. The other positive change announced is an increase in the R&D tax credit first instalment threshold to €50,000. This will particularly benefit companies in the SME sector by providing much needed additional cash flow. The changes announced build on the positive changes that were introduced to Ireland’s R&D tax credit regime last year and endorse the importance of the R&D tax credit in anchoring and stimulating investment in R&D in Ireland.
"A new targeted CGT relief is being introduced for “angel” investors in innovative start-up SMEs who hold their investment for a minimum period of three years. Qualifying angel investors may avail of an effective reduced rate of CGT of 16%, or 18% if through a partnership, on a gain up to twice the value of their initial investment.
"On the Employment Investment Incentive scheme (EII), Minister McGrath announced a doubling of the amount an investor can claim relief on to €500,000 and a standardising of the investment period to four years.
"Budget 2024 was an opportunity for the Ministers to deliver pro-growth policies and the measures announced, while modest, are a step in the right direction to support indigenous business. The Government must continue to support indigenous business and introduce measures to increase their overall competitiveness going forward."
In terms of Waterford Chamber’s submission, Jim said: “Maybe we were too strategic in our approach as the Government certainly didn’t take a strategic view. Budget 2024 was always going to be a difficult balancing act given the prevailing economic and political backdrop. In the event, the Government delivered a very substantial fiscal package that has an inordinate number of measures, which will impact widely throughout the Irish economy and society. It tries to address everything possible, but resources are being spread very widely across the economy. Everybody will be slightly better off, but nobody will be significantly better off. It is a catch-all budget offering and very much politically motivated.