Reliance on private sector for housing a recipe for failure- O’Sullivan

10 October 2017

Commenting on today’s Housing Budget proposals, Labour spokesperson on Housing, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan said:

“It seems particularly poignant that on World Homeless Day, the Government has not actually committed to any increase in capital spending on housing next year.

“In his Budget speech today, Minister Donohue simply reiterated the previous Housing Minister Simon Coveney’s existing commitment to building 5,900 social houses next year.

“On the current side, it also seems Government is still hell-bent on investing in the private housing sector, despite that option clearly failing to date.

“In our Alternative Budget, Labour fully costed the building of an extra five thousand public houses in 2018, which would have brought to 11 thousand the number of newly built public homes.

“Instead of directly funding the building of more social houses, Government has chosen to extend the HAP scheme, meaning this much needed funding will go directly into the pockets of private landlords.

“As well as no plans for a national affordable housing scheme, we have also seen a missed opportunity to repurpose NAMA to take the lead on the development of affordable housing for the State through approved housing bodies.

“Instead, under the newly named Housing Building Finance Ireland (HBFI), the €750m being diverted from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund looks set to become another vehicle for private developers, with no assurance that any housing built will actually be affordable.

“While I welcome the move to increase the vacant site tax, though I had called for it to be brought forward by a year, there is no mention of a vacant homes tax in next year’s Budget. That’s despite being named as one of the main priorities for the new Housing Minister on his appointment by the Taoiseach.

“With more than 100,000 homes lying vacant across the country, this would surely have been an easy win.

“It’s tragic that the Government has totally wasted the opporunity to direcly fund homes for those who desperately need it.”

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