Budget 2020 must help food & drink sector respond to Brexit

Food Drink Ireland (FDI), the Ibec group that represents the food and drink sector, today launched its Budget 2020 submission, calling on government to introduce a series of measures to help the sector respond to Brexit and support the development of indigenous enterprise.

Paul Kelly, FDI Director said: “€4.5bn worth of food and drink exports go to the UK. In the event of a no deal Brexit and the immediate imposition of tariffs, decisive steps would need to be taken. Tariffs are in effect a tax on trade and commerce and FDI is calling for their recycling into a tariff stabilisation fund to offset serious damage to exports and job losses.

“Every Brexit scenario is negative for the sector and companies will also need support to diversify products and market focus, innovate both products and processes and re-align their business models to mitigate the impacts of such a market shock. Funds amounting to 5% of the value of current export sales to the UK will be needed annually for three years from domestic and EU sources to help Irish companies innovate, diversify into new markets, train staff and invest for the future in capital towards enabling technology, carbon efficiency, plant renewal and expansion geared to improved competitiveness.”

The budget submission also calls for improvements in tax policy to support the development of indigenous enterprise. It outlines 19 improvements to Capital Gains Tax entrepreneur’s relief, the R&D tax credit model, the EIIS scheme and excise relief for certain craft drinks producers.

The budget submission also calls for measures to:

• Increase funding support for higher education and enterprise led training initiatives including Skillnets and industrial apprenticeships.
• Unlock growth potential through continued investment in innovation.
• Controlling the cost of doing business in Ireland with a particular focus on commercial water rates and insurance.
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