Housing crisis and worker shortage creating ‘perfect storm’, says Chamber

Limerick Chamber chief economist Seán Golden and Chamber CEO Dee Ryan.

THE HOUSING crisis and the shortage of skilled workers in Limerick and the Mid West is creating a “perfect storm”, according to Limerick Chamber.

Submitting their pre-Budget 2024 submission at Leinster House recently, representatives from the Chamber called on the Government to tackle issues with housing in the region to increase the area’s attractiveness to both businesses and workers.

In the Chamber’s ‘Our People, Our Place, Our Future‘ submission, issues facing their members across the Mid West are highlighted and recommendations are given to Government as to what could be done to alleviate these concerns.

Issues such as talent development and affordable housing provision were mentioned in the submission, while also calling for investment in capital projects that will support development of economic opportunities in the near future including Floating Offshore Wind from Ireland’s Atlantic coast.

Limerick Chamber CEO Dee Ryan said that issues with recruitment and retention of staff in the area, as well as the severe lack of housing, was causing a “perfect storm” for employers.

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“A shortage of skilled workers coupled with a drought of affordable housing is creating the perfect storm for employers, inhibiting attraction and retention of workers and impacting on employee’s quality of life.

“News of jobs announcements and investment have been warmly welcomed but employers are concerned about capacity to house workers. While Government focus on social housing targets has been understandable and justified, we are calling for an equal emphasis to be placed on affordable housing delivery,” she said.

Seán Golden, Chief Economist at Limerick Chamber, said that indexing income tax would be a good solution to ease the cost of living burden on workers.

“One of the ways to ease cost of living burden for workers is to index income tax. This would provide a fairer tax system for employees and help to reduce wage demands and competitiveness for employers.”

“The challenge for Government in Budget 2024 is to balance doing enough to address the current cost environment while also addressing key infrastructural gaps and providing a return for tax payers in the form of wrap around supports.”

Concluding, the President of Limerick Chamber, Miriam O’Connor, said: “Budget 2024 must introduce measures and cost of living supports to attract the Irish diaspora to return to live, work, and re-establish themselves in Ireland.  There must be a focus on retaining Irish graduates in the workforce and ensuring that we do not become an exporter of our best and brightest for the benefit of other economies.”