Nearly half of Irish business leaders see housing as impediment to growth

Survey reveals rising level of concern about housing crisis and its impact on workers

Some 40 per cent of respondents of a PwC survey  specifically singled out housing as a bottleneck in the economy that could potentially frustrate their business plans. Photograph: Alan Betson

Some 40 per cent of respondents of a PwC survey specifically singled out housing as a bottleneck in the economy that could potentially frustrate their business plans. Photograph: Alan Betson

 

Nearly half of Irish business leaders see the lack of affordable housing as a key impediment to expanding their businesses, a survey by consultancy firm PwC has revealed.

Key priorities for business leaders ahead of Budget 2019 included improving national infrastructure, reducing the personal tax burden, and dealing with the housing crisis to support the labour force and boost competitiveness, the survey suggested.

Some 40 per cent of respondents specifically singled out housing as a bottleneck in the economy that could potentially frustrate their business plans.

Reflecting the positive momentum of the Irish economy, 83 per cent of respondents expect their businesses to grow in the year ahead, with nearly a third expecting this growth to be more than 10 per cent.

However, a similar amount of respondents highlighted the rising cost of doing business here as an acute threat to future revenue growth.

Brexit

Other key challenges include the lack of availability of key skills (67 per cent); the potential negative impact of Brexit in a no-deal scenario (57 per cent ).

The changing international tax environment and the protectionist trade policies being pursued by Donald Trump’s administration in the US were also singled out as potential threats to future prosperity.

More than three-quarters of respondents (77 per cent) said they agreed that moving the Government finances into a surplus, as set out in the Summer Economic Statement, was “the right course of action”. Added to this, more than a quarter (27 per cent) ranked continuing to build a “rainy day” fund – to deal with future shocks to the economy, as a key priority.

Joe Tynan, PwC’s head of tax, said: “Reflective of Ireland’s robust economic growth, the survey shows a high degree of business confidence with expansion from new products and markets being a key driver of growth.

Ireland’s competitiveness

“Maintaining Ireland’s competitiveness is critical in the light of Brexit and other geopolitical uncertainties and the survey highlights the rising cost of doing business, available talent and residential housing as key concerns.

“As a small open economy on the edge of Europe, ensuring that our economy has the capacity for future FDI is critical and top priorities for Budget 2019 should include further investment in infrastructure and housing.”

Mr Tynan also noted the survey highlighted that the changing tax environment and geopolitical uncertainties were causing widespread disruption for businesses.

“For Ireland, one of our biggest concerns is how to manage our international tax reputation. As a country, we have been very good at providing an environment where companies can align their intellectual property, employees and profits and demonstrate substance,” he said.

“However, we need to be careful that we move in line with other countries, not ahead.”