Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Trade, Enterprise and Employment

Economic Competitiveness

Photo of Bernard DurkanBernard Durkan (Kildare North, Fine Gael)
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89. To ask the Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment the extent to which he and his Department have evaluated increased costs to industry here that might impact on job creation in the coming year; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30882/20]

Photo of Leo VaradkarLeo Varadkar (Dublin West, Fine Gael)
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The National Competitiveness Council (NCC), an independent advisory body under the aegis of my Department, plays a key role in ensuring that the Government has an independent voice raising important competitiveness and productivity issues including industry costs.

The Council produces an annual Competitiveness Scorecardreport that benchmarks Ireland against a range of other countries across a number of metrics. This includes two elements that are crucial to competitiveness – costs and productivity.

The Council’s Ireland’s Competitiveness Scorecard 2020, published on 27 May, was drafted using the pre-COVID data. The key takeaway from the report in relation to the overall cost base in Ireland was that it was higher relative to other EU countries. In 2018, Irish prices were approximately 13% higher than the EU average. However, this higher price level was compensated for because of Ireland’s high overall levels of productivity.

As a small open economy, maintaining the balance between the cost base and productivity is crucial for our competitiveness and the economy’s ability to create jobs. Addressing productivity and costs remains a key priority for this Government and will be addressed in the forthcoming National Economic Plan.

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