Momentum in Government’s response to COVID-19 crisis must be increased


Responding to the publication of the March Exchequer Returns, Chambers Ireland calls on Government to look to the future and plan how it will meet the challenge of restoring the country’s finance and rebuilding the economy.

Speaking yesterday (3 April 2020), Chambers Ireland Chief Executive Ian Talbot said, “The impact of the measures we have had to take as a country in the last 3 weeks are mostly not reflected in these Returns and we can expect larger percentage falls in May and June. The figures published today foreshadow the profound impact that the Covid-19 crisis will have on our national finances and our economy. Government must react in accordance with the scale of this challenge.

As we pass through the initial shock that this is having upon all of us, we must start looking towards the future, beyond the unprecedented scale of this disaster.

We must also be conscious that today’s figures are not the worst we are likely to see. Reduced consumption, lower employment numbers and significantly slower economic activity will have consequences on the Exchequer for months to come. VAT receipts, which form a significant part of State income, are likely to continue to fall as only essential shopping takes place, typically at lower rates of VAT.

Businesses widely welcomed the supports announced last week in the Emergency Powers Legislation. The programmes of support are unprecedented, and while there continues to be questions about some aspects of how the various schemes will operate, we look forward to working with Government to resolve these issues, so we can ensure that they function as intended and keep people engaged with the workforce, maximising the chances of business continuity.

Government and business need to work together to ensure that policies are introduced as smoothly as possible. We have never experienced this kind of shock, or a shock of such magnitude. While we appreciate the efforts that are being put in by everyone across society, there is more to be done and there is much more that can be done.

Today’s Returns highlight that the worst of this crisis has yet to be seen. Momentum in how we respond doesn’t merely need to be maintained but needs to increase if we are to meet this challenge.”

 

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