Stephen McNeice
Stephen McNeice

07.51 28 Aug 2019


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The British Irish Chamber of Commerce has called for Budget 2020 to include a €1 billion Brexit response fund for industries which would be most impacted by a no-deal Brexit.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has insisted he wants the UK to leave the EU with a deal on October 31st.

However, fears over a hard Brexit have intensified due to Mr Johnson's demand that the Irish backstop be dropped in any deal.

That demand has been rejected by EU leaders, who've insisted the backstop is necessary unless 'realistic alternatives' are put forward.

Amid the no-deal fears, the British Irish Chamber of Commerce - a group focused on promoting trade between Ireland and the UK - says the Government should use the 'larger than expected' corporate tax intake to "shore-up indigenous businesses" likely to be impacted by such an outcome.

In their pre-budget submission, the trade organisation calls for a new UK-Ireland bilateral research stream to "ensure close collaboration on research and innovation post-Brexit".

They also suggest the research & development tax credit be increased to 30% and the headline Capital Gains Tax rate be reduced to 'pre-crisis levels'.

John McGrane, director-general of the business group, said there's a need to balance "short-term uncertainty with long-term imperatives".

He argued: “In the shadow of ‘no-deal’, our members are requesting the Government to do more to reassure businesses as they prepare for all eventualities.

"From the agri-food sector to freight and haulage, SMEs across Ireland will need urgent protection."

He added: “However, we must not lose sight of the importance of east-west trade post-Brexit and the unparalleled cultural relationships between the two islands.

"Closer collaboration in research and innovation can underpin our future economic relationship with our nearest neighbour."

Yesterday, a cross-party coalition of British opposition MPs met in a bid to agree on an approach to block a no-deal Brexit.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn had been pushing for other opposition parties in parliament and rebel Conservatives to help install him as a caretaker prime minister to ask Brussels to delay Brexit and call an election.

However, the focus now appears to be on using legislation to block no-deal - although they have not ruled out a vote of no-confidence in Mr Johnson's government.

Main image: File photo of a protest against a hard border between the Republic of Ireland and the Northern Ireland. Picture by: Artur Widak/SIPA USA/PA Images

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