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Eamonn and James Clarke/EMPICS Entertainment

IBEC seeks labour market reform and increase in consumer confidence

The employers confederation says the Budget must get consumers spending again – but doesn’t ask for a review of professional fees.

THE BUDGET MUST put the public finances onto a more sustainable footing and reform the labour market to help nurture the creation of new jobs, according to the Irish Business and Employers Confederation.

Ahead of tomorrow’s announcement of the Budget figures, the employers’ group said that the Budget measures must convince shoppers that the economy will grow and restore public consumer confidence.

Director general Danny McCoy said the group knew “the scale of the budgetary adjustment required, but how it is achieved is just as important.

“We have choices. The focus must be on cutting expenditure rather than raising taxes and ensuring that, when revenue is raised, it is done in a way that is least damaging to growth.”

Unusually, however, there was no call from the confederation to address the issue of professional fees – one which has been earmarked for review by the government. has labelled that absence ‘strange’, saying that fees in professional firms and in the legal sector “remain at bubble-time levels”.

The Irish Examiner reports an online poll of its readers as suggesting, meanwhile, that the toughest cuts in tomorrow’s Budget should come to the overseas aid budget, with over half of the 1,000 respondents believing overseas humanitarian funding should be one of the three areas prioritised for cuts.

Other hard-hit areas included arts, sport, envrionmental schemes and child benefit – which is rumoured to be facing staggered cuts, with up to €40 a month being cut from three-child families.

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