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Rebuilding costs soar; BofI tightens mortgage criteria; and fresh supports for businesses

Business Today: the best news, analysis and comment from The Irish Times business desk


Ministers are considering how best to support businesses facing soaring energy bills without giving millions of euro to companies that are not feeling pressure as a result of the sharp rise in prices. Pat Leahy and Marie O’Halloran write that officials are drawing up options for Ministers, with final decisions likely to be reached next week.

Bills are soaring elsewhere too, with fresh research from the Society of Chartered Surveyors in Ireland finding that rebuilding costs have jumped by more a fifth over the past year. Dominic Coyle parses the numbers, which suggest homeowners are almost certainly underinsured on their homes, should they be destroyed by fire or otherwise.

And elsewhere in surging costs, rising gas prices have led to the owners of the Corrib gasfield off the coast of Mayo trebling their net income from it so far this year. Mark Paul reports.

There may be fresh stress ahead for would-be homebuyers, with news that Bank of Ireland is preparing to make it more difficult for borrowers to secure new mortgages as it tightens up its affordability criteria. Joe Brennan has the story.

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The Government faces “a delicate balancing act” in supporting households and avoiding adding to “second-round inflation”, the head of the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (Ifac) will tell the annual meeting of the Dublin Economic Workshop (DEW) on Friday. Eoin Burke-Kennedy has more detail on what Sebastian Barnes will say in his keynote address to the conference.

The National Competitiveness and Productivity Council (NCPC) has urged that expert group recommendations published this week to increase tax revenues should not be shelved, writes Joe Brennan. The report of the Commission on Tax and Welfare, which received a mixed response when it was published on Thursday, outlined a programme to increase Government revenues under a range of tax heads.

Mark Paul takes on the issue in his Caveat column, noting that some of the most eye-catching ideas in the commission’s report are politically undeliverable by any party because the public would never wear them. He also acknowledges however that there is nothing wrong with carving out individual proposals for scrutiny.

In this weekly Economics column, John FitzGerald makes a take-no-prisoners assessment on the UK’s latest plan to ease the pain of energy price rises for its electorate, warning it could lead to economic disaster.

As airline customers face into a day of cancellations linked to French strikes, Ryanair’s passengers may take comfort from news that its chief executive Michael O’Leary looks set to remain at the head of the carrier up to 2028. Ciara O’Brien has more.

Olive Keogh takes a look at how managers and HR professionals are trying hard to fill vacancies by targeting niche groups through, for example, non-traditional apprenticeships and returnships for women who have been out of the workplace for a period. The latter group, she writes, can be dubious about their ability to pick up the threads of their career successfully.

Ian Cullen has spent the week with a delegation of more than 100 Irish businesspeople, all of them past or present finalists in the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) competition. at a CEO retreat in Austin, Texas. The gathering, he observes, is part boot camp, part networking opportunity and all action.

And finally, this week’s Wild Goose is Zurich-based Alan Kelly, who moved to the Swiss city in 2016 to take up a global role at Takeda, a global biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan. Originally from Ballinasloe, Co Galway, Mr Kelly studied industrial biochemistry at the University of Limerick, subsequently abandoning plans to travel the world when he was offered his first job with the pharma giant. He now says his work allowed him to do his world tour with a laptop rather than a rucksack.

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