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Sep 6, 2023 | Latest News, Press Releases | 0 comments

ICSA president Dermot Kelleher has said the decision by the Minister for Finance, Michael McGrath TD, to remove the pouring concrete element for precast products, although correct, highlights the utter insanity of the levy in the first place. “The 5% concrete levy must be one of the most ill-thought out, farcical policy decisions ever made in a country where we urgently need more houses and where farmers are under pressure to add more slurry storage facilities.” 

He said, “The disconnect between the civil servants who came up with this looney tune idea and the reality of the people who will ultimately pay for it, is stark. It beggars belief that policy can be made without consultation as a knee-jerk response to the mica crisis. The lack of real-world experience of politicians and civil servants who stand over this policy gives cause for serious concern about policy making in general.”

“The fact is that this levy will have zero impact on those who manufactured defective concrete blocks, zero impact on those who manufactured good quality blocks and little impact on the construction sector. These stakeholders will be impacted by additional bureaucracy, but the cost will be passed on to people who are trying to buy or build a home; and of course, to farmers who are trying to upgrade their pollution control facilities. The TAMS grant limit of €90,000 of eligible expenditure on slatted houses etc means that the extra cost cannot be recouped.”

“To add further to the farce, the revision on precast products is another abject mess. This is demonstrated by the fact that the levy will only be dropped on poured concrete from 1 January 2024, and pre-cast products such as slats bought from September to December 2023 will be dealt with by way of a refund system. It is inevitable that the refund system will take up more civil service hours and therefore cost more than the levy brings in. This just highlights how the levy should never have been applied to readymix concrete in the first place.”

“In recent years, there has been a series of shock announcements in budgets that have been characterised by zero consultation and implemented by Ministers who haven’t had time to consider if they are sensible. We saw it with the trebling of stamp duty on commercial property sales which, when announced, it turned out that the Minister did not even understand that this would apply to agricultural land sales.”

“It is now clear that Minister McGrath needs to go back to his advisors and ask the hard questions about what analysis was done before this concrete levy was slipped into the budget at the last moment. When he finds out that there was no proper analysis and that somebody in his department just came up with a brainwave, he needs to demonstrate responsible leadership and abolish it altogether. All that has been achieved is to call into question whether government policy making is rational or sane. By facing up to a grievous mistake, he can restore confidence in politics.” 


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