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Housing Budget? A con job!

10 October 2018

Speech by Jan O'Sullivan TD
Spokesperson on Housing & Local Government, Enterprise & Innovation

There was much fanfare from Fianna Fáil that the budget this week was going to be a Housing Budget. It wasn’t.

The amount of extra money announced was minuscule in the context of what is needed and most of it is directed towards landlords and developers rather than those who need homes.

It falls so far short of what is required to address the crisis of homelessness and the acute shortage of social and affordable housing that the only conclusion you could come to is that the Fine Gael/Independent Alliance Government and their supporters in Fianna Fáil, either don’t care or don’t understand.

There are tax breaks for landlords, serviced publicly-owned land for developers and no protection from rent hikes or evictions for those renting in the private sector even though they are most at risk of becoming homeless.

The much heralded Affordable Housing plan will deliver 6,000 homes over 3 years, that’s 2,000 a year. That is abysmal. In my home City of Limerick I could identify 2000 families that are locked out of the market because they are stuck in high-rent limbo with no chance of saving for a deposit or securing a mortgage even though they are working full-time. This announcement of 2000 affordable homes is meant to cover the whole country! With all those who are below incomes of €50,000 for a single income applicant and €75,000 for dual applicant households qualifying, it will be a lottery as to who actually gets to buy an affordable home.

The Labour Party’s approach is fundamentally different and on a much larger scale.

We have published our proposals to build 80,000 social and affordable homes over 5 years with a state-led approach using state-owned land. We have costed it at €16 billion and would use what is already available from the Strategic Investment Fund (€5 billion), as well as the €500,000 per year to be set aside for the Rainy Day Fund and loans from the European Investment Bank.

Putting money away for a rainy day is putting money away for the banks to squander again.

It is raining now on the nearly 10,000 who are homeless (including over 3,700 children) and the thousands more who cannot see a secure future for themselves and their families.

Budget 2019 was the first budget in 11 years where there was economic recovery and enough available funds to make a real difference in the lives of people across Ireland.

This opportunity wasn’t taken because of a lack of leadership and vision and a fundamental conservatism dressed up as responsibility

Earlier today the Labour Party leader referred to Fine Gael’s definition of themselves as the Party of stability. He rightly said that is spin for the Party of conservativism.