The Irish SME Association has called on Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to take precautionary measures against more difficult times ahead in Budget 2020.

In a pre-budget submission, ISME said that the country must start paying off its national debt and control public spending. 

It said this will require difficult conversations between the executive and the public service, but these are no longer avoidable. 

Pointing out that very man, woman and child in Ireland owes €46,000 in Government debt, ISME said the country must stop adding to that debt this year.

The association also noted that the country's Capital Gains Tax rate is at "an outlier" in the OECD at 33%. ISME said this tax must be lowered while is also urged more entrepreneurial incentives in Budget 2020.

Ahead of Brexit and a weakened sterling, ISME also recommended that the "extortionate" 23% VAT rate be lowered to to 21% - or below. 

"Commercial rates and local property tax require urgent reform. While infrastructure spending is increasing, we are concerned that the State gets value for money from what it invests in," ISME stated. 

The Irish SME Association also said the country needs a radical programme of reducing the cost of living in Ireland, most particularly the cost of housing.

"The state must stop outsourcing increases in the cost of living to employers via the National Minimum Wage, and instead must commit to a radical program of reducing costs of living in Ireland," ISME added.