Ireland’s national housing emergency is at the forefront of the minds of the nation and many want it to be Leo Varadkar’s first priority when making decisions on Budget 2019. This is the sentiment expressed in the latest Taxback.com Taxpayer Sentiment Survey, which found that 50% of respondents believe measures to tackle the housing and homelessness crisis should take top billing in this year’s Budget.
Taxback.com surveyed over 1,600 taxpayers nationwide to delve into the mood of the nation in advance of Budget 2019.
Speaking of the findings Eileen Devereux, Commercial Director, Taxback.com, said: “The level of concern amongst the Irish public is palpable from this survey. The housing crisis is not a distant concern. People want to help and in the main, it seems, are open to using Exchequer coffers to try to solve the housing and homelessness crisis. One observation that could be made on the back of these results is that, if there is to be a general election, the current administration will be strongly judged on their handling of this issue.”
Taxback.com say that while the Government tests the waters each year by flagging possible budgetary measures well in advance of Budget Day, it’s hard to remember a time in recent years where one issue has dominated public discourse so much.
Respondents were asked the following questions
If you were Taoiseach, what would be your number one priority in Budget 2019?
- Housing and Homelessness 50%
- Healthcare 24%
- Cut income tax rates 13%
- Childcare costs 5%
- Poverty levels 4%
- Climate Change 2%
- Tax assistance and incentives for self-employed 1%
- Other 1%
Skyscrapers have been mooted as one potential solution to Dublin’s housing crisis. Would you favour skyscrapers being built in Dublin?
- Yes 63%
- No 37%
Do you think the Government should extend the First Time Buyer grant of €20,000 to those trading up, who haven’t previously received any grants to fund their property purchase?
- Yes 77%
- No 23%
Do you think the Government should cut the VAT rate in the building sector to incentivise more homes to be built quicker?
- Yes 74%
- No 26%
Ms. Devereux continued: “It’s not difficult to understand the rationale behind our findings. Homelessness figures in the country are rising, figures from July show that there were 9,891 people in emergency accommodation. Coupled with this is a severe shortage of housing for people who are trying or who have managed to get the funds together to buy their own home. Property prices have risen nationwide by an average of 54% – just over €89,000 – in the last five years. And the average house price in the capital is now nearly €155,000 higher than it was in 2013. What’s more, experts have predicted that our housing issues could last another 10 years. And when we consider the projection that there will be 400,000 more people living in Dublin by 2030, and 600,000 more by 2050, the sheer size of the challenge that lies ahead is obvious.
“Aside from the housing crisis, there are of course other matters on the minds of the public. For instance, healthcare is a priority for nearly a quarter (24%) of people, while cutting income tax rates follows in third position at 13%. However, these considerations appear not to weigh as heavy on the minds of the majority as housing.
“The survey would suggest that we are a caring society. The vast majority of taxpayers would prefer help for those in need rather than more money in their pockets.”