Cork Chamber Welcomes Investment in Housing & Capital Projects in Budget 2019

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October 09, 2018
Cork Chamber Welcomes Investment in Housing & Capital Projects in Budget 2019
Dramatic Intervention in Hospitality a Serious Concern

09 October 2018
Cork Chamber today broadly welcomes the budget containing important measures advocated by the Chamber to improve Cork and Ireland as a place to work and do business.
That said, it also adds significant costs to business, particularly the hospitality sector – Ireland’s largest indigenous industry - which will be hit by €500m in additional taxes and a minimum wage hike under Government’s 2019 budget.

Speaking on Chamber priorities in today’s announcements, Director of Public Affairs Thomas Mc Hugh said,

Cork Chamber Priority 1: Housing
“Representing the business community of Irelands fastest growing City region, we are pleased to see this Budget respond, in a responsible way, to the priorities of our members. The €2.4 billion spend to accelerated provision of housing is a step critical to help address both affordability and supply and will complement the recent launch of the Land Development Agency. That said, it is disappointing that further measures to specifically stimulate the development of rental and high density living in our City regions has not been called out today. The proof will now be in the delivery.”

Cork Chamber Priority 2: Capital Investment
“Ongoing commitment to capital projects continues to build on the momentum of Ireland 2040 and the Capital Plan and the €1.4 billion additional spend for schools, universities, public transport and other essential infrastructure will help address the current deficit. It is essential that Ireland 2040 is robustly supported through an all of Government approach. Today we saw the Dunkettle Interchange and Port of Cork being listed as an example of projects that are critical not only to Cork but to the State.”

Cork Chamber Priority 3: Tax Reform & Schemes
“The move to increase VAT for hospitality all the way to 13.5% in unnecessarily dramatic at a time when our cost competitiveness for British visitors who represent 40% of our tourism is particularly challenged by Brexit related factors. While we must certainly reign in temporary measures over time we must not do so in a way that causes sectoral concern. It is essential that the announced measures taken to increase marketing are robustly implemented to ensure the sector which employs 240,000 people retains its strength.”
“There are some further positives, looking at the increase in widening the affordable childcare for working families will help make returning to the workforce more attractive for many parents and make Ireland a better place to live and work. Reform of the KEEP scheme to help SME’s retain key staff is a much-needed improvement that will make the programme more attractive.”

Cork Chamber Priority 4: Macro
“The commitment to a balanced budget in 2020, is encouraging. It is essential that we do not stimulate the boom to bust model that has characterised our recent history. We must be countercyclical yet practical in our budgets and not become reliant on windfall corporate tax receipts. The rainy day fund is a critical part of this story, setting aside €1.5bn to be built upon by a further €500million in 2019 is an essential move, both psychologically and in practical terms.”

Cork Chamber Priorities
Chamber priorities responded to by Government include:
  • Increased spend on housing of €470 million to a total of €2.3billion
  • €1.4 billion increase and renewed commitment to capital projects brings spend to €7.3bilion
  • Build up of a Rainy Day Fund
  • Improved Brexit package for SME’s
  • Raising the entry point to the higher rate of tax to reduce Ireland’s high marginal tax rates
  • Increasing the earned income credit for self-employed people
  • Widening access to subsidised childcare for working families
  • Additional funding for third level education
  • Improved KEEP and EIIS Scheme