Government should incentivise staff accommodation development – KPMG

Number of businesses have started providing homes for their workers amid shortage

The Government should incentivise companies to develop accommodation for staff in Budget 2025 in order to help ease the State’s accommodation crisis, according to KPMG.

The Big Four firm also said that a benefit-in-kind exemption should be brought in for workers earning less than €50,000, in order to make it attractive for them to take up housing offered by their employers.

“The housing crisis is adversely impacting the attractiveness of the country as a location for investment and may well become a deterrent to many workers, including young Irish professionals, and businesses from locating here,” KPMG said in a statement on its pre-budget submission to Government.

“Among the range of measures recommended to increase the supply of housing, employers should be incentivised to provide residential accommodation to employees with a corresponding BIK exemption for employees earning less than €50,000.”

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Budget airline Ryanair said in January it had bought 25 newly built homes in Swords, north Co Dublin, to house some new cabin crew based in Dublin Airport, having previously warned that the lack of affordable accommodation here was hindering its ability to hire staff. A number of hotels, including the Merrion Hotel in Dublin and Powerscourt Hotel in Co Wicklow, have also begun to provide and, in some cases, develop accommodation specifically for employees to protect their operations.

Last summer Chambers Ireland told an Oireachtas committee that multinationals were considering buying out entire housing estates for workers.

KPMG’s list of proposals also includes a call for the setting up of a so-called office for tax simplification to address the excessive complexity that has become a feature of the tax system in recent years. It argues that this complexity is adding to the cost of doing business and is undermining competitiveness, particularly now that the 12.5 per cent corporation tax rate is less of a competitive advantage.

“Budget 2025 needs to focus on the key competitiveness challenges facing the Irish economy, including the cost of employment, the international competition for talent, affordable housing, the need to develop more Irish businesses of international scale and climate change commitments,” said Tom Woods, head of tax at KPMG in Ireland.

The Republic introduced a 15 per cent tax rate at the end of last year for companies generating more than €750 million of annual revenues – the minimum rate reached in 2021 by an international agreement orchestrated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

As countries globally implement this rule, it’s “critical that Ireland differentiates itself from its competitors by enhancing its value offerings to businesses and individuals”, said Mr Woods.

The Government hosted its latest annual pre-budget forum, known as the National Economic Dialogue, in Dublin on Monday. Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said there would be measures in the budget to support households, as well as a social welfare package.

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