AS HOUSE prices soared members of the Construction Industry Federation made lots and lots of hay while the sun shone.
Yesterday, in a disconcerting example of the seamlessness relationship between our political and business sectors, former minister of state Tom Parlon advocated that the top rate of stamp duty be cut from 9% to 5% to help kick-start activity in the housing market.
Mr Parlon, who is CIF director general designate just months after leaving the cabinet table, advocates a move contrary to the advice of the Central Bank.
The bank has cut its growth forecast from 4% to 3.25% but believes that the economy is still performing well, despite house building contracting and international financial turmoil. In direct conflict with the CIF, the bank says that it believes that spending on the National Development Plan is moving ahead quickly and there is no need for the plan to be accelerated.
Though Mr Parlon is perfectly free to offer his services as a hired gun to the highest bidder, and though the industry he represents is one of the cornerstones of the economy, we might do well to heed the advice of the Central Bank.
The bank’s responsibilities are far wider than those of any lobby group. The call from the CIF might be more plausible if they suggested that they might consider reducing margins.
Is it possible that CIF members are lumbered with land they paid too much for and need house buyers to take it off their hands?