Guaranteed Irish Calls For VAT Reduction and Expansion of Incentive Schemes to Stimulate Construction Sector
Guaranteed Irish has called for a reduction in VAT, the expansion of incentive schemes, and an overhaul of apprenticeships to stimulate the construction industry. The organisation has published recommendations on the steps needed to ensure sustainable construction in Ireland in future years. The recommendations were formulated at a roundtable event attended by Guaranteed Irish construction-industry members and sectoral stakeholders. Four over-arching themes emerged:
- Making construction and housing more affordable;
- Addressing the skills shortages in the construction industry;
- Stimulating the domestic construction market; and
- Reforming planning laws and regulations to make it easier to build.
In the publication, Guaranteed Irish calls for specific measures under each of these themes, including:
- A reduction in VAT on houses to nine per cent.
- Reform of the Development Contribution Rebate Scheme to open it up for developments with fewer than 50 houses and make it easier for smaller companies to access the finance they need to engage in construction activity.
- A review of the apprenticeships scheme to offer shorter-term apprenticeships, and to make apprenticeships more attractive for both school-leavers and employers. Guaranteed Irish is calling for a centralised applications system for those seeking apprenticeships and incentives for employers who take on apprentices.
- Retention of the Help-to-Buy Scheme for first-time buyers and the Home Renovation Incentive, which has “provided a boon for the construction industry”.
- Recommencement of major infrastructural projects that were put on hold during the recession. According to Guaranteed Irish, with Brexit looming, the Government must stimulate the domestic construction market, so that construction companies become less reliant on exports to the UK.
Brid O’Connell, CEO of Guaranteed Irish, comments: “In recent months, we’ve consulted extensively with our construction-sector members. These are resilient companies that withstood the recession, and are now well placed and eager to play their part in Ireland’s economic recovery.
“What they do not want is a return to the ‘boom and bust’ patterns of previous years. The recommendations we have developed in consultation with our members are about achieving sustainable growth and future-proofing our construction sector.
“Some of the recommendations acknowledge positive developments initiated by government, such as the Help-to-Buy Scheme and the Home Renovation Incentive. In this week’s Budget, we hope to see these retained.
“Other recommendations arise from our members’ on-the-ground experiences. Affordability is a huge stumbling block in the construction sector, both for builders and manufacturers and for the end customer.
“One of the most effective and immediate ways to reduce costs would be a reduction in VAT on house prices to nine per cent. The Government has been steadfastly refusing to take this recommendation on board, but they need to listen to industry experts. Any decrease in Exchequer earnings as a result would be offset by increased activity in the housing market. We need bold measures like this to really address the challenges currently facing the construction industry.”
The recommendations published by Guaranteed Irish are available on the organisation’s website,www.guaranteedirish.ie.
Guaranteed Irish has over 300 members nationwide, including leading construction-industry suppliers, such as CRH, Tegral, Wavin, Kingspan, Combilift, Celuplast, Dulux, Fleetwood, Kilsaran and Camfil.