I want to comment on the Finance Bill 2015. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation states constantly that he wants Ireland to be the global centre for start-ups, but I do not think he has spoken to the Department of Finance. He keeps saying these lovely words but in reality Ireland has not delivered for start-ups. In fact, the Finance Bill which has been delivered by officials in the Department of Finance penalises start-ups. It is no wonder, therefore, that we have missed out on massive business opportunities like the Web Summit when the Government clearly has not communicated and liaised with people who try to develop start-up businesses. Paddy Cosgrave is the founder of the Web Summit and he summed up the situation well when he said:
I have absolutely no record of a single Irish minister ever meeting a single high-level delegate. Last year the British Government sent a Minister here for two days. He didn’t look for photos beside Enterprise Ireland or the equivalent of IDA stands, instead he spent two days doing non-stop bi-lateral meetings.
That British Minister spent two days in bilateral meetings with potential start-ups with an interest in coming to Ireland which is the reason the British are great business people.
As I have mentioned here before, the capital gains tax relief regime here does not compare with the UK regime. In Ireland such relief is restricted to the first million of profit gained. In contrast, the UK has a simpler, clearer and more attractive relief because a flat rate of 10% is applied to entrepreneurial gains of up to £10 million. The initiative has increased threefold since the relief was introduced because the UK has an entrepreneurial economy and society. The UK woke up some years ago to the fact it was experiencing a brain drain due to people choosing to leave its shores as they found they could not do business there anymore.
I would like to raise many other issues but I will return to them at a later stage. Inheritance tax was only tinkered with in the Finance Bill. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation has let himself be rolled over by the people in the Department of Finance. They do not have a clue what it is like to do business and are suspicious of every business person. The Finance Bill is a disgrace as far as potential start-ups are concerned.