News & Media

Gov must provide for Brexit impact on jobs in Budget 2020

10 July 2019

Statement by Brendan Howlin TD
Party Leader and Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Northern Ireland

Reacting to the Government’s Brexit contingency plan update, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD, called on the Government to prepare major Budget measures to counteract the likely impact of Brexit on jobs.

Deputy Howlin said:

“This Fine Gael government seems to have forgotten a number of key lessons from the 2008 economic collapse. The effects of Brexit will be particularly hard for smaller businesses that trade extensively with the UK.

“A central lesson from the crash was that it is much easier to save existing jobs than to foster the creation of new jobs.

“In 2011, in the worst of economic circumstances, we created a €500 million jobs fund to fund specific tax measures to preserve jobs in areas like hospitality and tourism.

“The main message of the Government’s latest plan is a reminder that a no deal Brexit would be bad for Ireland and Northern Ireland. But too many of the actions being taken are passive, like providing information and advice, rather than spelling out the Government’s commitment to save jobs.

“When the Euro currency was under threat, Mario Draghi said that the ECB would do ‘whatever it takes’ to save the currency. The Government’s report estimates that up to 55,000 jobs could be lost due to a hard Brexit. But there is little detail in the plan about how some of these jobs might be saved, such as through exceptional tax measures or else negotiating a deal with trade unions around altering working hours, to preserve more jobs during the difficult next few years.

“The Government could and should be doing more to preserve the jobs that we know will come under pressure in a hard Brexit.”