By Pádraig Hoare
The top-three priorities for business in Cork are a housing stimulus, capital investment, and tax reforms, according to Cork Chamber’s latest economic survey.
The body’s third quarterly economic survey of 2018, which asked 1,200 Cork Chamber members about upcoming budget priorities, found that more businesses favour tax reforms to improve competitiveness (46%) over increased spend on public services (25%).
The survey pinpointed Brexit as the top threat to business growth, followed by the availability of housing and rental accommodation for employees, and the availability of skills.
Cork Chamber chief executive, Conor Healy, said that housing had to keep up with Cork’s economic growth, or the region would lose out to competitive regions.
“The Cork economy has returned to considerable strength, with a very robust business outlook and strong growth opportunities.
“Nationally, alongside Dublin, the south-west region has the lowest unemployment rate in the State, while Cork continues to attract more talent and investment, which is encouraging, at a time when we are poised to become the fastest-growing city in Ireland.
“That said, we are still unable to meet demand for urban accommodation for rent for the many companies that are now expanding in Cork.
“If unaddressed, a shortage of rental accommodation will cause Irish city regions to lose investment opportunities, both inward and indigenous.
“As the Government finalises Budget 2019, we ask that more stimulus towards urban rental accommodation is prioritised and we will be formally submitting this request, as part of the budget-consultation process.”
Meanwhile, at 95%, business confidence remains high in Cork, up 4% on the second quarter, the survey found.
Just under half of those surveyed expect to hire more staff over the coming 12 months, while 70% expect an increase in net profits in the next year, survey results showed.