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Friday 31 March 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Alamy Stock Photo File image of the construction of a section of a new estate in Carrigalin, Co Cork.
# Housing Crisis
Business group Ibec warns housing crisis is 'critical barrier to growth and business investment'
It has offered some key recommendations which the group claims would ‘cut the cost of new home by €30,000′.

BUSINESS GROUP IBEC has warned that the housing crisis is a critical barrier to continued growth and business investment.

Ibec, a group that represents Irish businesses, has today launched a new housing report as part of its “Better Lives, Better Business” campaign.

The group has called on the government to urgently deliver “a suite of ambitious policies to speed up the delivery of much-needed housing, and improve viability and affordability”.

It has also issued some “key recommendations” which the group claims would “cut the cost of new home by €30,000”.

‘Challenge to business operations’

In a recent Ibec CEO survey, over 70% of companies identified housing availability for staff as a challenge to their business operations in the year ahead.

However, 30% deemed this to be a “major challenge” while more than a quarter of businesses said the impact of housing availability on employees was one of the top three external priorities for their business.

Ibec’s director of lobbying and influence Fergal O’Brien said: “An inadequate supply of affordable housing is the single largest impediment to attracting and retaining talented workers, without whom business investment and expansions are not possible.”

He added: “The housing crisis has increasingly become a concern in relation to cohesion in the workplace and society more broadly. Younger workers, in particular, are financially pressed by ever-higher rents and the receding prospect of homeownership.

“This ultimately spills over into issues around well-being and productivity in the workplace, while in the longer-term, if left unchecked, will also create emerging challenges in terms of pension adequacy and people’s broader stake in society over the coming decades.”

O’Brien said that from “an employer perspective” there is a need to “reinvigorate the policy drive around the availability and affordability of housing”.

He said this will include “reform of the planning and procurement system to speed delivery, a ramping up of ambition in affordable and cost-rental housing, and significant investment in skills and modern methods of construction”.

O’Brien claimed that Ibec’s proposed fiscal measures would “reduce the cost of a typical €400,000 new home by €30,000 and this could be achieved with immediate effect”.

‘Key recommendations’

Some of Ibec’s key recommendations to address the housing crisis includes investment in Further Education to address skills shortages and “improved tax treatment of landlords’ expenses”.

Ibec said “improved tax treatment of landlords’ expenses” could be achieved “while also ensuring greater security for tenants”.

This would be done through “greater resourcing for local authorities and the Residential Tenancies Board to meet a 25% annual rental inspection target, a deposit protection scheme, and a national car testing equivalent scheme for the accommodation rental sector”.

Ibec’s report also calls for local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to aim for the delivery of 20,000 social, cost-rental and affordable units annually by the end of the decade.

The business group also included as a key recommendation the temporary introduction of a VAT refund order worth 5% of a new home for buyers of new build homes to offset rising costs of construction, as well as greater collaboration with manufacturers and the construction sector.

Ibec is also seeking resources to recruit and retain staff to reduce planning backlogs and improve timeliness and to “significantly increase funding through the Irish Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) and Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) to ensure adequate development finance in the market”.

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