LIMERICK Chamber has identified the lack of affordable housing as a key factor affecting business sentiment in the Mid West region.
In its submission for Budget 2023, the Chamber states that urgent action is required to support regional businesses, many still reeling from Brexit and pandemic impacts and now hit with the increasing cost of doing business.
Chamber chief executive Dee Ryan said that affordable housing, talent and energy are the burning issues, each one feeding into upward pressure on wages and contributing to the increasing cost of doing business across the region.
“Without adequate response from Government targeted into vulnerable households and vulnerable businesses, we face potential closures and job losses in 2023,” Ms Ryan warned.
“This in turn will have an impact on our town and city centres with consumer facing businesses taking the brunt of the decline in consumer confidence”.
Chamber Chief Economist Seán Golden said that the lack of affordable housing featured heavily in consultations with local businesses.
“We are experiencing an acute shortage of affordable homes for purchase and rent with just 61 homes at an average cost of €1,600 per month, on the rental market in the whole of Limerick in August,” he explained.
“Paradoxically, vacancy and dereliction are not uncommon across the country in towns and cities, undermining efforts at vibrancy being made by community groups and businesses.
“In our submission, we highlight the potential benefits for Limerick City and County towns of a review of the Living Cities Initiative, with a loosening of eligibility for the scheme making it more accessible for would be homeowners. In conjunction with this, Government must bring forward plans for strategic vacant and derelict sites in cities and towns
“The challenge for Government in Budget 2023 is to balance doing enough to address the current cost of living and cost of doing business crisis, while also putting a focus on long-term challenges that face our country.
“In addition to housing, we must become much more ambitious in our aims for the renewable energy sector. Limerick and the Mid-West has an enormous role to play in helping the EU decarbonise through floating offshore wind from the Shannon Estuary and we are calling for increased focus at Government on realising this opportunity,” Mr Golden added.
Read the full submission here