Morning business news - May 6Tuesday 06 May 2014 10.31
Retail Ireland, the retail grouping within employers group Ibec, says taxes on work in Ireland are too high, out of line internationally and should be cut. The group wants the marginal rate of income tax - that is the total of PRSI, PAYE and the universal social charge paid on the last euro of income earned - to fall below 50%. At present workers on the higher rate of PAYE are currently paying tax equivalent to 52 cent of every euro earned at their top rate. Retail Ireland holds its annual conference in Dublin this morning.
Frank Gleeson, Retail Ireland's chairperson, says it is important to continue the good work done in the economy over the past few years. He says there are signs that consumers are returning to the shops and while the volume of retail sales grew by over 2% in the past year, the value of sales stayed the same. He says this proves that shops are discounting in an effort to get shoppers in. Mr Gleeson is calling on the Government to cut income tax, ensure regulation is sensible and proportionate and support retailers' move online.
According to Retail Ireland, the sector has the potential to create 40,00 new jobs over the coming years if the conditions are right. But Mr Gleeson stresses that consumers need more money in their pockets to buy more in the shops. He says that many retailers have cut costs and some are hanging on to their businesses by the skin of their teeth. Several high profile retailers have gone bust, and Mr Gleeson says he does not want to see any more businesses - a lot of which are Irish and family owned - going under.
MORNING BRIEFS - Profits at the investment banking arm of Britain's Barclays halved over the first quarter of the year according to results published this morning. Barclays came under fire at its recent annual shareholder meeting over the size of its £2.4 billion bonus pool for 2013. It paid 481 staff over £1m last year, most of them at its investment banking division.
*** The euro zone bailout fund the ESM will, with heavy conditions attached, be able to invest directly in a troubled bank from next year. But that is only after such an institution has failed to raise private investment and exhausted available funds within its own member state. The head of the euro group of finance ministers Jeroen Dijsselbloem said overnight that in that circumstance 8% of a bank's total liabilities will be written off - with creditors (bondholders) taking the hit. The statement by Mr Dijsselbloem, following the latest meeting of European finance ministers, clarifies what the position will be next year.
*** Bob Savage, head of operations at EMC Ireland - a specialist in information storage that employs around 3,000 people in Ireland - has been promoted to a bigger role encompassing Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The Irishman will take responsibility for EMC sites in Russia, Israel and Egypt in addition to his role EMC's operations at its Cork base. EMC has eight of what it calls centres of excellence across the globe. The new appointment will see Mr Savage overseeing half of them.