Housing must be central to any Budget stimulus plans

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
07 October 2020
  • Shockingly low social housing builds in 2020 show need for radical programme of construction in 2021.
  • Labour calls for over €1 billion extra to be invested to deliver an extra 10,000 homes.
  • Fair Deal for renters needed, Labour commits to a €15m arrears fund.

Speaking today at the launch of Labour’s Alternative Budget Labour Housing Spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan outlined a range of measures to build more homes, support renters, tackle land speculation and address homelessness.

Senator Moynihan said:

“This pandemic has exposed the cost of our broken housing system. People working in low paid jobs ‘hot bedding’, renters losing their jobs unable to pay their rent, while the crisis of homelessness and social housing continues.

“Today’s incredibly low social housing completion figures from the Department of Housing show that the government is failing on one of its main challenges since taking office. Even taking into account a lockdown, meeting just 10% of our social housing build target is a shocking figure. This is failure of government and management. Under Labour’s Housing Plan we would establish a €16 billion fund to build 80,000 homes over 5 years to ensure affordable housing for all, starting with €5 billion from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and €500m of annual seed capital. We will also increase the social housing construction budget to deliver a further 2,000 public homes on top of the commitment to at least 8,900 in 2021 under the NDP, and ensure allocations for traveller accommodation are spent by local authorities. Now is the time for the State to build more homes as recommended by the ESRI.

“There is a pressing need for a Community Infrastructure Fund that would provide for facilities like community centres and playgrounds for any large public housing developments and I would allocate €30m in 2021 for this essential support. I am also calling for a redress fund for construction defects and an extra €10m for Housing Adaptation grants to support more people to stay in their homes.

“Labour believe that schemes such as the ‘Help to Buy’ which was prioritised in the July stimulus will not solve the housing crisis. What is needed is state investment in building housing, and the political will to support renters in the private rented sector.

“With Labour’s Alternative Budget proposals, we will build back better, we will support renters, we will work to end homelessness and challenge housing speculation. Our Alternative Budget would frontload housing investment now to put our people back to work.

“Labour is committed to tackling our housing crisis so everybody on this island can live in affordable, secure, housing. We would end land speculation by increasing the Vacant Site Levy, and ensure ringfenced funding for the implementation of Housing First, targeted at homeless children. I especially want to see the provision of on site childcare and educational supports in Family hubs.”

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