Qualified Labour support for LDA Bill
Labour housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan has confirmed that Labour will support the Government’s Land Development Agency Bill at second stage, however significant red flags remain that Government will need to engage with opposition on.
Senator Moynihan said:
“The Labour Party has significant concerns regarding the detail of the LDA Bill and we want to ensure that delivering affordable housing on public land and democratic oversight is at the heart of any proposal to addressing the housing crisis. We simply cannot see the old approach of developer led housing solutions when we have so many people desperate for a roof over their head.
“Labour supports the need to have one single authority responsible for developing housing and public land to break the cycle that isn’t delivering enough homes quickly. Any such authority must have the power and remit to give financial assistance to local authorities and approved housing bodies for the construction of social housing.
“However, when reading the detail of the Government’s proposals I have huge concerns regarding some of the Minister’s proposals on the potential of 30% of the land being available to sell to private developers and the lack of definition of affordable housing related to peoples incomes used”
“It would be incredible if Fianna Fáil failed to learn from the last time they brought the housing market to collapse through cosy relationships with private developers. Under the current draft potentially 30% of the land that the LDA controls could be sold to these private interests. The Labour Party is vehemently opposed to only the Minister having the power to allow this and will be arguing that the legislation should enshrine that no land can be disposed of to private developers without the consent of the Oireachtas. Public land must be made available for social and affordable housing, including schemes of affordable home ownership. It must be enshrined in legislation the need to ensure that we are providing 100% affordable housing is on public land, including affordable purchase.
“The definitions in this Bill also need to be looked at. We want housing to be tied to affordability which means being tied to people’s incomes. We also have concerns around the accountability of the LDA to the Oireachtas and the power of disposals only being with the Minister, and we oppose the removal of section 183 Local Authority Members power over disposals.
“Previous governments have been obsessed with relying on market forces rather than taking the necessary initiatives to build sustainable communities. A range of State-led measures are needed, including taxes and levies, to strongly motivate those with available land to develop housing on it now, and to eliminate profiteering. We don’t want to see a situation where private developers hoard what was once state land.
“The Labour Party believes that Ireland’s housing problems can be solved and that the LDA has a part to play in this but it must be an accountable, affordable housing focused agency. We can build an Ireland where every child grows up in decent housing in a good neighbourhood.”