The only solution to the ongoing housing crisis is State-led action

28 August 2018

Reacting to the report by The Economist that House prices in Dublin are 25 per cent over-valued against income (Irish Times, ‘The ‘Economist’ says Dublin house prices are 25% over-valued’, 27 August 2018), Labour Party Leader Brendan Howlin said:

“Pope Francis was right to visit the Capuchin Centre to highlight the issue of homelessness. As the saying goes, ‘The greatness of a nation can be judged by how it treats its weakest member’.

“However, it would be wrong to portray charity as the solution to homelessness. The real solution is to have an adequate supply of good quality, affordable housing, and to ensure that social and affordable housing is made available to everyone who needs it, along with whatever other supports they might need to maintain their homes.

“Nearly 10,000 people are homeless and over 100,000 households are on waiting lists for social housing. This is not their fault. It is our fault, as a nation, for not providing adequate housing and for not more tightly regulating the private rental market.

“Rents have increased by over 40 per cent since the start of 2011, and are now 7 per cent higher than they were at the height of the Celtic Tiger at the end of 2007. But national statistics show that incomes have, on average, just about returned to where they were a decade ago.

“Research by The Economist has shown that there is growing gap between average incomes and the cost of housing in Dublin. What that implies is that more and more people in typical jobs, such as retail or security, are unable to afford the cost of housing in Dublin.

“The only solution to the ongoing housing crisis is for State-led action, on a massive scale, to deliver tens of thousands of units of housing annually.

“While national debt levels were sky-high, the IMF and European institutions blocked any attempt at State-led housebuilding on a major scale. But now the debt is under control and the Government has the capacity to institute an ambitious programme of home-building.

“That is why Labour’s housing policy is to invest €16 billion over five years to build 80,000 units for social and affordable housing.”

ENDS

Labour’s comprehensive housing policy is available here:

https://www.labour.ie/download/pdf/affordable_housing_for_all_labour_housing_policy.pdf

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