Chambers Ireland Launches Budget 2023 Submission

Jul 28, 2022

There are three principal areas which Chambers Ireland has identified the government to focus on:

  • Housing
  • Skills & Talent
  • Energy

Speaking at the launch of their Submission for Budget 2023, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive, Ian Talbot, said

“For our members there are three interlocking struggles which businesses in Ireland are facing: Housing, talent, and energy dominate the conversations of businesses throughout the county.

“Many of the problems we are experiencing arose from the decade of underinvestment which afflicted the economy in the post Great-Financial-Crash era. Delivering on the needed infrastucture solutions during a time of increasing costs will be extremely challenging, but will also be essential for our future prosperity.

“On the upside, it has lately been recognised that we have entered a ‘shock-prone’ world. While this will be challenging, our size, our location, and our educated workforce suggests we have the potential to be nimble. But this also means that we need to be proactive about the problems we are facing. We are able to adapt to the changing international environment because of our scale, in a more volatile world that will give us opportunities to grow relative to our bigger and slower peers.”

Chambers Ireland’s Head of Policy, Shane Conneely, continued

“The real challenge for Government in Budget 2023 will be keeping their attention focused on the long-term challenges that face our country.

“While some years have been more settled than others Ireland has spent most of the last fifteen years reacting to crisis after crisis. We need to accept that the world is far less benign than it was at the start of the 2000s and policy must become much more proactive in response.

“We must become much more ambitious in our aims for the energy sector in particular. Ireland has an enormous role to play in helping the EU decarbonise. Russia’s war only accelerates that trend.”

-ENDS-

For further information:
Shane Conneely, Director of Policy and Communications, 086 3244 940 or email shane.conneely@chambers.ie

About Chambers Ireland:
Chambers Ireland is the voice of business throughout Ireland, with 40 member chambers across every major city, town and region of the island. Aligning our strategic priorities with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, our aim is to make places better to live, work and do business.

Notes for the Editor:

Chambers Ireland’s full submission is available here: The Chambers Ireland 2023 Budget Submission

Housing:

Housing because it is affecting the ability to attract talent, and this is the experience across the country. Even in our regional chambers we are regularly encountering problems where a big jobs announcement is made, and there literally isn’t the housing available to support the number of new people that will be need

Budget 2023 must:

  • Increase funding for the delivery of home so that the National Development Plan targets can be met
  • Fast track shallow retrofits at scale to help households mitigate the effects of higher energy costs and ensure the retrofitting programme is as effective as possible
  • Alter tax incentives through increasing levies so that hoarding vacant properties is no longer a viable business
  • Support Local Authorities efforts to make urban Ireland an attractive place to live and work

 

Skills & Talent:
Skills and talent have become a major issue as businesses throughout the country are struggling to get the employees they need, we are going to have become much more attractive to talent from abroad, particularly if we are going be able to meet out NDP and Housing for all Targets

To help resolve the immediate shortages in Skills & Talent Government urgently need to:

  • Simplify the visa and permit system. We must build upon the treatment of Ukrainian refugees to make our treatment of people who are seeking international protection in Ireland humane
  • Expand resources for upskilling and retraining those who are in employment
  • Review, consolidate and simplify the employment law legislation including the recent sick leave, remote working, parents leave, parental leave, paternity leave, work life balance act rights, the organisation of work time etc. to ensure that it is not only comprehensive but comprehendible
  • Introduce greater supports for carers to ensure that they can continue to remain engaged with the workplace to the greatest degree possible

 

Energy:
For Energy we have a series of, mostly long-term, asks where we are looking for the government to become much more ambitious about gathering renewable energy from the sea. The most important one is for MARA to be founded as a kind of ‘IDA for the sea’ – an organisation that will work with govt bodies to facilitate the quick delivery of offshore energy projects.

In the short run, changing the incentives landscape to facilitate commercial properties becoming microgen producers, and delivering shallower retrofits that would support those most directly affected by fuel poverty are key.

Making the most of our energy opportunity will require:

  • MARA to be founded on a strong footing so that it can become an IDA for the offshore energy industry and a one-stop-shop facilitator of the green transition – MARA’s core purpose must be maximising the generative potential of our offshore energy resources
  • We need to be more ambitious regarding our offshore renewable energy resources, multi-GW targets must be set for landing floating offshore electricity by 2030
  • The REPowerEU guidance on ‘overriding public interest’ should be used to deliver the grid upgrades and reinforcements needed to support high capacity onshore and offshore energy networks
  • The Environment and Planning Court has to be brought into operation immediately
  • Hybrid connections at the sites of existing thermal plants are required to ensure our grid infrastructure has the capacity to land the offshore energy we need
  • The practical hurdles for domestic and commercial users introducing small scale solar photovoltaic supply as a source of microgeneration need to be monitored and adapted on a quarterly basis if we are to avoid a delayed rollout
  • A programme of shallow retrofits targeted at those in poverty should be implemented to reduce the impact of fuel costs on the marginalised
  • The National Hydrogen Policy should aim for Ireland to be exporting Condensed Green Hydrogen by 2030

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