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Family Business Network seeks commission on public expenditure

FBN Ireland says family-run businesses form the most stable source of State tax income

The Family Business Network (FBN), the organisation representing family-owned businesses throughout Ireland, has called for the establishment of a commission on public expenditure to comprehensively examine the allocation and utilisation of the State’s revenue.

FBN Ireland highlights the unprecedented rate at which State expenditure has risen over the past decade and argues that expenditures have ballooned without ensuring value for the State’s money, resulting in excessively high levels of taxation on individuals and businesses.

While these high rates of taxation were initially introduced during a period of unprecedented economic crisis, given the currently robust exchequer receipts, FBN Ireland argues that it is crucial to review and rationalise public expenditure to ensure it aligns with the State’s current needs and long-term fiscal health.

“Family-run businesses in every constituency combine to deliver the most stable source of the State’s tax income, including corporation taxes, local rates, income taxes and PRSI,” says John McGrane, executive director of the Family Business Network.


“Last year’s Commission on Taxation and Welfare turned out to be a missed opportunity. Instead of providing a comprehensive evaluation of both our taxation and expenditure, it focused solely on generating additional revenue, without examining our outgoings. As our national spending surges, it is vital that robust checks and balances are in place to examine how and where it is being spent.

“The workers and businesses who pay the taxes that are funding this growth in expenditure deserve to see that it is being spent efficiently and effectively. A commission on public expenditure would be an appropriate mechanism to provide transparency and accountability, and to ensure that taxpayers get the best value for their money.”

The 2023 Summer Economic Statement has confirmed that, for the third consecutive year, public spending will exceed this Government’s own self-imposed 5 per cent cap, again emphasising the need for better governance and value for taxpayers’ money.

“We all agree what we want to invest in but we also agree we should at least not jeopardise public services by spending scarce funds badly,” says McGrane. “We cannot squander the opportunity, while we have it, to look at where all the public’s money goes, eliminate wasteful spending and fix the roof while the sun is shining.”

The call for the establishment of a spending commission is one of 11 recommendations presented to the Government in the Family Business Network’s submission to Budget 2024. The submission centres on sustaining indigenous businesses throughout Ireland and addressing capacity issues in the economy.

It also calls for the establishment of a sovereign wealth fund to invest windfall corporation tax receipts.