Answers not spin needed on investment in student accommodation
Despite a whirlwind of publicity today from the Minister for Higher Education about long needed state support for student accommodation, Labour spokesperson Annie Hoey highlighted that no figures have been given on how much money the government is actually investing, when the units will be available and what affordable will really mean for students.
Senator Hoey said:
“Students have been hard hit by the housing crisis, and the cost of their accommodation, if even available, has become far too expensive. It is good to hear the Minister today announce state support to stimulate the supply of student accommodation but no figures are given. This action however comes too late for far too many students.
“The government statement today says it will unlock the construction of 700 beds but we’re not told how much the Minister is investing, or what conditions of affordability are attached to any state funding, or when these units will be available. We need substance rather than more spin.
“We need to know from the Minister what capital investment the State is providing, and what guarantees of cost rental are being given in return. Student accommodation has been treated as a cash cow by both private investors, and third level institutions. We must have conditionality on any state funding.
“We’re told this new policy will deliver up to 667 beds across University of Limerick, Maynooth University and University of Galway with future plans DCU and UCD in return for affordability commitments on rent but we need to see more detail from the Minister and the Department.
“In our alternative Budget the Labour Party proposed an annual commitment of €100m in capital investment to deliver real affordable student accommodation alongside significant cost of living increases in student grants and support. For far too many young people now higher education is being increasingly unaffordable, limiting their choices and options in what courses they can pursue.”