Universities seek ‘urgent action’ on student accommodation crisis

Pre-budget submission recommends tax relief for construction of new student housing

An interdepartmental group has been set up to examine possible tax incentives to kick-start construction of student accommodation. File photograph:  Jason Lee/Reuters

An interdepartmental group has been set up to examine possible tax incentives to kick-start construction of student accommodation. File photograph: Jason Lee/Reuters

 

Ireland’s seven universities have called for “urgent remedial action” to address the student accommodation crisis.

In a pre-budget submission, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) says: “As well as causing distress to Irish students, the accommodation shortage also impacts negatively on our ability to attract international fee-paying students to Ireland.

“The availability of campus accommodation is a prerequisite for attracting new overseas students.”

Possible incentives

An interdepartmental group has been set up to examine possible tax incentives to kick-start construction of student accommodation.

Officials believe the Government is constrained by EU competition law in reducing or eliminating VAT, but the IUA points to a derogation allowing for a lower VAT rate on acquisition and development costs.

This could be used to incentivise the building of student accommodation, the universities say.

The IUA estimates the investment required to address capital needs on university campuses is about €2 billion over the period 2016 to 2025.