Ronan Murray, President of Cork Chamber. Photo: Darragh Kane

Businesses see cost of living as Budget priority

The cost of living and housing are both top priorities for businesses ahead of the next Government budget.

That’s based on Cork Chamber’s latest Economic Trends where members shared their experiences through the most recent business quarter, Q2 2022, and their outlook for the 3rd quarter 2022 and on their priorities for Budget 2023 in a period which saw the continuation of the Russian war in Ukraine and challenges with the rising cost of energy and inflation.

Commenting on the findings, Ronan Murray, President of Cork Chamber said: “While cost of living was identified as the top priority for Budget 2023, 47% of companies identified supply-side stimulus for housing as needing to be addressed. Housing shortages have moved from becoming a social problem to a key problem for business.’’

Significantly in this 2nd quarter of 2022, the rising cost of raw materials and reduced orders rounded out the top threats to growth for the companies in the survey, with inflation in input costs and changing consumer sentiment impacting business performance.

The latest Economic Trends was supported by Permanent TSB. Anna Buckley, Business Banking Manager at Permanent TSB said: “Despite a fall to 58% of businesses expressing confidence in the Irish economy, it is positive to note that there is a continued high level of personal business confidence from an overall financial perspective among the Cork business community reported at 90%, the same as Q2 in 2021 and slightly up from 86% in Q1 2022.’’

President of Cork Chamber Ronan Murray concluded: “Positively, we continued to see Cork Chamber member companies create jobs over the past three months. However, in line with this quarter’s findings, infrastructural measures and business competitiveness measures were identified as one of the top three budget priorities for companies (both 35%).

“Infrastructure delivery is vital for continued investor confidence and sustained growth. With ambitious private investment and continued job creation in the city region, there is a need to fast-track delivery of sustainable transport alongside housing and other infrastructure. This will allow people to have a real choice in how they live and will also be key to continuing to attract foreign direct investment and talent,” he concluded.