Cathaoirleach Éirígí Brian Leeson has slammed today’s 26 County budget announcements in relation to housing.
Speaking from Dublin he said, ‘The help-to-buy scheme that Michael Noonan announced today will do nothing to address the underlying problems in the housing sector. It is simply another mechanism to channel taxpayer’s money into the pockets of private property developers – a mechanism that will have property developers knocking back the champagne this evening.
This grant will ultimately be counter-productive as it will drive the prices of new houses even higher as first-time buyers use the grant in bidding wars for houses that are already over-priced.
Instead of recognising the fact that the private sector is fundamentally incapable of providing affordable housing, Noonan has chosen to use hundreds of millions of euro of public money to boost the profit margins of the developers and thus create the illusion of affordable private housing.’
Leeson continued, ‘While the additional monies for Emergency Accommodation and the HAP scheme is welcome in the short term, these sticking plaster solutions are not tenable in the longer term. Pumping tens of millions of euro into private emergency accommodation is a highly inefficient use of public monies which must be brought to an end as soon as possible.
Given the lack of rent controls it is likely that the additional monies for the HAP scheme will be absorbed by landlords increasing the rates or rental accommodation to those in receipt of HAP.
Today’s budget demonstrated that the 26 County government have learned nothing from decades of flawed housing policies. They are intent on continuing down a road that places private landowners, private developers, private banks and private landlords in the driving seat of the housing sector. Until a fundamental break is made with this approach we will continue to lurch from one housing crisis to another.
Over the coming months we in Éirígí will step up our work within communities to build popular support for a new approach to housing – a approach based upon the citizens fundamental Right to Housing and the duty of the state to provide high-quality, affordable Public Housing For All.’