Speaking this morning (13 August 2019) about Chambers Ireland’s Budget 2020 recommendations on Infrastructure and Housing, chief executive Ian Talbot emphasised that regardless of the economic uncertainties we face, Government must ensure that the NDP investments set out under that plan are realised.
“The priority issue for Budget 2020, as identified by our network of chambers, is that we must see real progress in the capital projects included in the NDP. For this plan to be delivered the project deadlines must be met, on time and within budget, and the investment programme must be adhered to. Therefore, continuous financial oversight of these projects is essential.
On housing, the lack of appropriate and affordable homes is a crisis that needs significant State action. Even since the publication of “Rebuilding Ireland”, housing supply in urban areas has fallen short of demand, while undersupply has spread to the regions severely impacting local economies everywhere, from our largest cities to our smallest towns.
The lack of availability and high cost of rent, particularly in our cities, directly hurts local businesses and SMEs by making it harder to hire key staff. These costs lead to increased wage demands in excess of domestic growth and makes it harder for companies to recruit, limiting opportunity.
Frequent moves, threats of eviction and long commutes reduce employee flexibility and sap productivity. This housing instability and insecurity affects key quality of life measures and makes retention of staff difficult, particularly in urban areas.
In light of the supply-side problems in the housing market, Budget 2020 interventions within the housing space need to be focused on initiatives which will increase the availability of accommodation that is both affordable and appropriate to the needs of a disproportionately young and mobile workforce in our small, open, advanced economy.”
To these ends Chambers Ireland calls on Government to:
- Optimise investment in capital projects and infrastructure
- Ensure efficient planning and the productive use of land
- Strengthen the delivery of housing in our regions, cities and towns
- Support a more cost-effective and productive construction sector