Bri­tish-Ir­ish cham­ber urges Brexit state aid ex­emp­tions

Irish Independent - Business Week - - Front Page - Gavin McLough­lin

IRE­LAND should seek ex­emp­tions from the EU State Aid rules to help busi­nesses hit hard by Brexit, ac­cord­ing to the lead­ing lobby group for busi­nesses with op­er­a­tions in the UK and Ire­land.

The Bri­tish and Ir­ish Cham­ber of Com­merce also called for the estab­lish­ment of an EU-wide Brexit mit­i­ga­tion fund to help re­gions most af­fected by Britain’s de­par­ture from the Euro­pean Union.

The cham­ber’s calls are found in its pre-Bud­get sub­mis­sion, which is pub­lished to­day.

“The Gov­ern­ment must make key de­ci­sions to en­sure that the Ir­ish econ­omy is ro­bust enough to with­stand the worst of the Brexit eco­nomic shock,” the sub­mis­sion says.

Di­rec­tor gen­eral John McGrane said the EU should “en­able Ire­land to cre­ate such sup­ports and reme­dies for af­fected Ir­ish busi­nesses as are nec­es­sary”.

“What we need is an un­der­stand­ing that it is a po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic mat­ter and it needs a com­men­su­rate re­sponse from the EU, to recog­nise that nor­mal state aid pro­vi­sions don’t ap­ply.”

He said this might in­clude the Gov­ern­ment pro­vid­ing di­rect fi­nan­cial sup­port to a busi­ness in the form of a grant if nec­es­sary.

“We want in­di­vid­ual busi­nesses who are in­ter­rupted to be given grant aid. If they can show a case that the im­pact of Brexit is go­ing to cost jobs, the State can give grant aid for the re­ten­tion of those jobs.

“We also want the State to con­tinue the sup­port that it gives to its Brexit-fac­ing state agen­cies, peo­ple like En­ter­prise Ire­land, the IDA, Tourism Ire­land and oth­ers.

“Those agen­cies are very im­por­tant in sup­port­ing our own busi­nesses and sup­port­ing con­ti­nu­ity of em­ploy­ment, trade and in­vest­ment.”

Mr McGrane said the cham­ber was work­ing with mem­bers to try and pro­mote Ire­land as a des­ti­na­tion for com­pa­nies seek­ing to keep an EU foothold af­ter Brexit.

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