Cost of doing business in towns ‘a big problem’

The Spring Statement tomorrow, which will be announced by the Finance Minister Michael Noonan, is expected to mark the end of austerity in Ireland.

The plan for the upcoming budget will outline €1.4bn in tax cuts and spending increases, including changes to the Universal Social Charge. It is based on an economic growth forecast of 4% this year – which is well above the 2.9% rate set out in Budget …

Flood of cheap money ‘risks creating bubbles’

A flood of cheap money risks creating bubbles in financial markets if interest rates remain low for long , ECB governing council member Erkki Liikanen has said.

“We need to pay attention,” Liikanen, also governor of Finland’s central bank, said in an interview to be published in leading German business newspaper Handelsblatt today.

“If interest rates remain very low for a long time, there is a risk,” he said.

Revenue to add 400 staff as tax take tops €41bn

Revenue is to take on an additional 400 staff by the end of the year as it scales up its regulatory and compliance capabilities and looks to maintain its strong performance over the past number of years.

It is recruiting a broad range of roles including taxation and legal professionals, economists, data analysts, and IT experts.

Approximately 230 of the roles will replace retirees following a decrease in the Revenue’s …

Growth of 0.4% forecast for euro area

The eurozone economy is on a recovery path, according to all but a handful of forecasters polled by Reuters who also gave a slightly more than one-in-four chance of Greece leaving the currency union.

Economists are more optimistic about a turnaround in the region compared with a month ago, which should provide some cheer given that for years a faltering eurozone has been one of the top risks to global …

Debt at record high in Europe

Government debt in the eurozone has surged to the highest levels since the introduction of the single currency, underscoring the challenges still confronting the 19-nation bloc as it wrestles with Greece over new aid payments.

Greece’s debt pile swelled to a new high of 177.1% of GDP at the end of 2014, up from 175% a year earlier, the European Union’s statistics office in Luxembourg said yesterday. For the eurozone …

British EU exit risk to Ireland

The biggest loser from a Conservative Party victory in next month’s election might end up being Ireland.

Prime minister David Cameron has pledged to renegotiate Britain’s EU membership should he win a second term, and hold a vote by the end of 2017 on whether to remain in the common market of more than 500m people.

Britain is Ireland’s biggest trading partner, accounting for more than $44bn (€41bn) in 2013, …

2015 tax take set to be €2bn better than forecast

The Government is expected to take in over €44bn in tax revenue this year. The surplus amounts to €2bn, or 5% more than was forecast in last October’s Budget.

Rises in pay, falling unemployment, rising domestic demand, and lower taxes have placed the Irish economy in “a sweet spot”, Goodbody Stockbrokers said yesterday in its second quarter health check on the State’s finances; and it only sees things improving.

Earlier …

GDP growth pushes deficit close to the limit

Ireland’s deficit fell at an impressive rate at the tail end of last year, with the final quarter deficit just above the EU-imposed limit the Government will have to reach by the end of 2015.

Minister for Finance, Michael NoonanMinister for Finance, Michael Noonan The general government deficit for the fourth quarter of last year — which measures the difference between what the country takes in and its expenditure — …

State-funded grants for first-time buyers under Labour plans

First-time buyers will receive state-funded grants to help them meet strict Central Bank deposit limits, under plans being considered by Environment Minister Alan Kelly. The news comes as senior Government sources last night said its announcement on a new mortgage arrears plan is now not expected until after the Spring Statement on the economy on April 28. This is because of continued disagreement between the Coalition over Labour demands to …

70% of mortgage holders in arrears are long-term

Seven in 10 residential mortgage holders behind on their repayments are in long-term arrears — a third of which are grappling with a payment backlog of two years or more.

Despite the latest Department of Finance mortgage arrears figures showing a slight improvement in the number of borrowers in arrears, the scale of the crisis is strikingly evident.

At the end of February, the number of primary dwelling mortgage accounts …