Monday 19 February 2018

Budget help on the way to encourage start-ups

Michael Noonan: future
Michael Noonan: future

Colm Kelpie Belfast

FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan signalled new Budget measures to encourage business start-ups as he warned Ireland has fewer young entrepreneurs than our main European competitors.

Addressing the Confederation of British Industry annual lunch in Belfast, Mr Noonan said young people here saw their future as employees rather than employers.

In a hard-hitting speech, he told Northern Ireland business chiefs that young people must be encouraged to start their own business.

"There's one problem with the way we've raised our young people," Mr Noonan said.

"They see their future all the time as employees and we need to get our talented young people to see their future as people who will found their own businesses.

"The whole entrepreneur issue . . . must be addressed in Ireland and I intend to address it in our part of the country in the next Budget."

Mr Noonan said the number of young entrepreneurs on the island was significantly lower than the number in any of the main European countries.

In a wide-ranging speech, Mr Noonan also said that he supported the North's campaign for a cut in its corporation tax rate.

"We fully support your application for a 12pc corporation tax rate and we have informed our friends in London of this," he said.

The recession experienced in Northern Ireland has been deeper and longer than other regions of the UK.

It experienced a larger boom in property prices than other UK regions and is also heavily reliant on public spending from Westminster.

To mark the 15th anniversary of the signing of the Good Friday Agreement earlier this year, Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villiers said there needed to be a stronger private sector in the North.

Prior to the annual lunch, Mr Noonan met Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson, who previously warned that NAMA was inhibiting growth in the North.

Asked about this, Mr Noonan told reporters the economy was growing again and property prices were increasing.

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He pointed out that while house prices in Dublin had gone up 10pc year on year, that was after falling 49pc.

"I don't think we need to worry about a spike for another while," he added.

In his speech, recounting the problems in the property boom, he said the sector should be following the prevailing economic conditions and not driving it.

"It went so daft down south that people believed they could all become wealthy by selling property to each other," he said.

Irish Independent

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