Construction Industry Federation calls for retention of Help To Buy Scheme in Budget 2023

07 Sep 2022

CIF Delegation met with Government today to outline Budget 2023 submission

The Construction Industry Federation has called for the retention of the Help To Buy scheme to support housing affordability in its Budget 2023 submission to Government.

A delegation from the Construction Industry Federation met with Minister for Finance, Pascal Donohue TD, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath TD and Ossian Smyth TD, Minister of State, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of the pre-budget process.

The federation is also recommending frontloading investment to create a pipeline of infrastructure projects to address the underspend of €1.7bn on capital projects in the last three years, which has delayed progress of public building and infrastructure projects.

Tom Parlon, Director General of the Construction Industry Federation said: “The construction sector emerged from the Covid pandemic to face the impact of a sharp rise in inflation across building materials and fuel, alongside supply chain disruption, which have been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. This is creating a challenging housing market and adversely affecting potential house buyers and renters.

“Our budget 2023 recommendations are focused on boosting housing supply, while reducing the cost of delivery, and supporting affordability for house buyers. It is vital to residential delivery that there is stability in the Government measures already introduced, such as the Help to Buy scheme, alongside initiatives to stimulate sustainable residential development and encourage the restoration of unused buildings in our cities, towns and villages.

“We recommend that the Government retains the Help to Buy scheme for three years to December 2025 as a critical affordability measure to support new home buyers.

“There have been 33,035 first-time buyers approved for the Help to Buy scheme since its inception. With national residential property prices up by almost 50% since the scheme was launched, the extension of the scheme, in conjunction with the new First Homes scheme, would be a key step to maximising access to owner occupation for first-time buyers.

The Construction Industry Federation is also proposing increased investment in the design and planning of infrastructure projects to ensure that there is a steady pipeline of projects at construction stage, aligned with Housing for All.

Tom Parlon said: “The realisation of the National Development Plan is vital in providing essential infrastructure such as water, roads, transport, schools, hospitals and energy, for Ireland’s projected population increase of one million people by 2040, and to support the Climate Action Plan.

“We recommend that a portion of capital carried over in the Public Capital Programme could be reassigned for the purpose of undertaking design and planning of infrastructure projects up front.

“Looking into 2023, the total Exchequer capital provision in the NDP is €11.6bn, which is just 1.8% in nominal terms above the estimated outturn for 2022. Construction cost inflation is expected to be well above this level. We hope that the capital allocation for 2023 provided in the budget will allow for a real increase in public capital investment after taking construction inflation into account.”

An additional 27,500 construction workers will be needed over five years to deliver on Housing for All targets alone. The budget submission also calls for greater support for reskilling and upskilling and increased training apprenticeships.

Tom Parlon said: “We welcome the opportunity to engage with the Departments of Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform on behalf of the construction industry, as we strive to deliver a sustainable built environment to support Ireland’s growth trajectory over the next decade and beyond.”

To read the Construction Industry Federation’s Budget Submission 2023 visit CIF-Budget-Submission-2023.pdf.

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