Government should rename Affordable Housing Bill the Market Discount Bill

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
27 April 2021

Labour housing spokesperson Senator Rebecca Moynihan has said the Government continues to rely on failed market metrics for its housing policy. By voting down a Labour Party amendment to link affordable rental to income, Government show their true colours when it comes to affordable housing.

Senator Moynihan said:

“The whole purpose of an affordable rental model is to target lower-income renters, protecting them and ensuring they have a roof over their head in a crazy rental market. During the course of the pre-legislative scrutiny of the Affordable Housing Bill, the outside agencies we consulted all said that affordability was the critical issue and that the generally agreed definition of affordability with a third of net income.

“The Labour Party put forward an amendment to the Affordable Housing Bill which would define affordability and tie the very concept of ‘affordable rent’ to income thereby levelling the playing field somewhat for renters.

“Affordable housing as a concept means that the cost of housing is affordable relative to the income of a person or household.

“The Government’s decision to vote this amendment down shows that they aren’t interested in real affordability but rather just less than market so they can pretend they are doing something for renters.

“Rents continue to reach record peaks and the speculative, finance-based private sector cannot adequately meet the housing needs of people in Ireland, particularly young workers and those on lower-income. We welcome cost rental being put on a statutory footing but affordability should be defined.

“A safe, secure home is life’s cornerstone. We knew that before now, but in a year when we’ve all had to stay at home, the point is well proven. Everyone should have security about keeping their home, regardless of whether they are renters or owners.

“A safe and secure home is a human right and it is the benchmark of a decent society. The State has a duty to take whatever action necessary to ensure that everyone can afford a home. We need a new deal for renters and Labour’s amendment was an opportunity to make real, progressive change for real affordable rental in this country.”

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