Budget 2023 represents a huge response to the crisis from the government, however whether the increases are focused enough to ensure delivery remains an open question.
In the context of a budget that is focused on cost-of-living struggles Chambers Ireland welcomes the business focused elements and the enormous investment in the economy this represents.
The principal concerns of the Chambers Ireland network as we approached #Budget2023 were Energy, Housing, and Talent.
- Policies like the Temporary Business Energy Support Scheme are likely to be useful for the businesses, the caveat being that we are still awaiting clarity on the delivery and the finer grain of the qualifying criteria.
- Businesses do need a scheme to support struggling sectors, and we welcome this, but with a cap of €1 Billion on the scheme, there are questions regarding the adequacy of funding should downside risks prove greater than the government hopes.
- In view of the downside risks we welcome the renewed commitment to the Rainy Day fund of €6 billion over the next 15 months
- Our natural renewable energy resources are of immense value to our country, the rapid establishment of MARA as a one-stop-shop that facilitates this is urgently required. We welcome the funding and the government’s commitment to it.
- The increase in funding for housing is welcome, the focus on social housing is important, but the actions of the Department of Housing need to be directed towards financing direct builds to ensure that ordinary buyers do not find themselves competing with state bodies in the open market when they are trying to buy their homes.
- In the context of the recent Census figures we also need to look at assessing whether our Housing for All targets will be sufficient to meet demand.
- The vacant homes levy is useful, but probably isn’t sufficient in itself to alter incentives – Chambers Ireland would like to see a far wider range of vacant and derelict properties to be covered by such taxes, and taxes which were significant enough to make hoarding of land unprofitable.
Skills & Talent
- The Childcare supports are especially welcome, there is no greater reservoir of talent in Ireland than the generations of women who have been excluded from the workforce as a result of the caring duties that have fallen on their shoulders. Making it easier for highly skilled people throughout the country to maintain their labour force activity through the difficult early years of parenting is vital for both our society and our economy.
- The supports for upskilling of people who are living here is a good thing. However, the Irish labour force has demand gaps across all areas, not just those that require third level qualifications.
- We need to see more action to facilitate, rather than restrict, people migrating to Ireland for economic reasons. Ireland is in a competitive global market for talent, if we are to build 300k+ houses over the next decade, we will need to make Ireland an attractive place for people to work.
- The increase to the €1,000 voucher scheme is also welcome, particularly the greater flexibility with which employers can issue them will hopefully be a boost to the Christmas economy