NAMA should finance public housing- not just private developers

03 October 2017

Labour Party spokesperson on Housing, Jan O’Sullivan TD has said that the Government’s proposal to provide cheap loans to private developers from NAMA does not go far enough, and the State must take a much more active role in financing public housing.

Deputy O’Sullivan first put forward a proposal on repurposing NAMA in Summer 2016.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“The Government’s plans for NAMA should not just be another funding vehicle for private developers. Following sustained market failure to deliver new builds, the State must now take a leading role in the development of affordable housing, and the long term financing of social housing through local authorities.

“The State needs to pick up the slack from where private developers have failed. There are simply not enough homes being built.

“As far back as Summer 2016, I proposed broadening NAMA’s remit to provide social and affordable housing, and rebrand the agency as the National Housing Development and Finance Agency.

“Under Labour’s proposal, the focus of NAMA would become one of addressing the serious shortage in supply of residential accommodation for sale or for rent at affordable prices. It would also give NAMA the power to give financial assistance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing.

“While I am glad to see the Government taking up this idea over a year on, it is simply not enough to funnel money to private developers. The repurposing of NAMA should be transformational, not a private finance initiative.

“Including public housing in a new remit for NAMA would provide a framework for the construction of social and affordable homes through NAMA’s remaining land banks. It would also allow the State to tap into the existing expertise and resources already in place at NAMA, and negate the need for the setting up of a new quango to deal with the housing crisis.

“What we now need to see from Government is a sense of urgency about ensuring social houses are built, and a national scheme that ensures homes that are built, are affordable.

“There is also an opportunity to provide long term, low cost finance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing, through a repurposed NAMA and HFA that could leverage the €5.3 billion available in the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund.”

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