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Economic Competitiveness

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 15 April 2014

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Questions (303)

Bernard Durkan

Question:

303. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the extent to which the cost base in Irish industry remains in line with that in other adjoining and European jurisdictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18079/14]

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Written answers (Question to Jobs)

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) published the Cost of Doing Business in Ireland 2014 Report on the 1st April 2014. This report compares Ireland’s cost competitiveness to other regions across a number of key business inputs: Labour costs, Property costs, Transport costs, Utility costs, Credit costs, Business and Professional Services costs, and Broader environment costs, such as consumer prices. Comparisons are made against a number of EU Member States and the Euro area average in many instances.

The report finds that Ireland’s costs base has improved across a range of metrics over the last number of years, making Irish firms more competitive internationally and making Ireland a more attractive location for firms to base their operations. However, the report also indicates that, despite these improvements, Ireland is still a high cost location for a number of key business inputs. The Council points to upward pressures emerging in a number of areas, including labour costs, industrial electricity prices, transport costs and a range of business services.

The NCC emphasises the importance of Ireland’s international cost competitiveness remaining a key priority and cautions that further structural change is required to ensure that costs do not escalate and erode the competitiveness gains which we have made in the last few years. The report also emphasises the importance of improving productivity performance. The full Costs of Doing Business report is available on the NCC’s website, www.competitiveness.ie.

The 2014 Action Plan for Jobs places a particular focus on improving competitiveness in all areas of economic activity, and includes a full chapter setting out actions to be taken in 2014 in relation to costs, supporting competitive regions, aligning skills with enterprise needs, and using research and innovation to drive competitiveness. These issues will be systematically addressed over the course of the year by the relevant Departments and agencies.

The Action Plan for Jobs also includes a commitment that the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs will monitor the competitiveness agenda on a regular basis and will report to the Government on a quarterly basis on such issues. In this context, the Costs of Doing Business report was submitted to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs for its March meeting and has also been submitted to a full meeting of the Government.

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