CIF reveals ten point point masterplan to kickstart the economy

The Construction Industry Federation (CIF ) this week unveiled details of its 10-point economic plan, which it said would kick-start economic activity at no cost to the Exchequer.

These include a stamp duty holiday for house buyers and commercial construction until the end of this year, a tax credit scheme for first-time buyers that would release the volume of VAT tied up in built but unsold houses, and delivering on planned Exchequer capital spending.

The CIF also said that 80pc of all Irish pension funds are invested overseas, and mechanisms must be explored to prevent this further flight of capital out of Ireland into overseas property.

"The State is the only organisation capable of guaranteeing a return on investment in buildings and civil engineering works, while completing the much-needed infrastructure and public buildings."

It also called for the fast-tracking of planning permissions for small scale residential improvement works and other labour intensive developments that are delayed within the planning system.

The CIF also wants a PRSI holiday for employers and for the Government to prevent banks from stopping overdrafts without six months' notice.

The CIF also revealed that it has written this week to the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance, as well as the leaders and finance spokespersons of the other political parties, to call for infrastructure spending to be prioritised in next week's Budget.

The CIF earlier wrote separately to the Minister for Finance in response to reports that his Department was considering cutting capital investment by €2bn, which would mean that no new infrastructure projects would commence this year or next and that at least 55,000 construction jobs would be put at immediate risk.

Unveiling the 10-point economic plan, CIF Director General Tom Parlon said that the Budget has to balance the need to stabilise the public finances with the absolute imperative of saving jobs.

“The CIF's 10-point economic plan would cost the Exchequer nothing and in reality would generate significant revenue flows".

"Every job lost costs the Exchequer at least €30,000 in social welfare payments and lost income tax, and also hits indirect taxes through reduced spending, so it's vital that impediments to employment are removed.

“Measures such as removing employers' PRSI, which is basically a tax on jobs, and bringing our top rate of VAT below the UK level would give businesses a chance in the current environment".

"Similarly, introducing a stamp duty holiday for people wishing to move home would encourage increased spending on home furnishings and other home fit out costs as well as saving jobs in estate agents, solicitor firms and elsewhere. In terms of new homes, there is over €1bn in VAT tied up in unsold units.

“The CIF proposal would unlock this VAT and give a major boost to the Exchequer, as well as creating jobs in the finishing off of housing developments are as a result of the marketing, advertising, real estate, conveyance, and related activities associated with house sales".

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