Labour’s view is that the State must provide affordable public housing, and we will work to enhance European supports for a state-led resolution of Ireland’s housing affordability crisis. All around Europe, cities and other public authorities build and provide quality public housing that is affordable and available to all. In some European cities more than half the population rents high quality public housing. Public housing can and should be a much more prevalent option in Ireland too.
Housing is recognised as a fundamental right in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, which has been ratified by all EU member states (including Ireland in 1989). The provision of housing is and should always be a public good, not a commodity for market speculation.
Frans Timmermans (currently First Vice-President of the European Commission and the candidate of Labour’s group in the European Parliament) has pledged to allocate EU structural funds to match spending by municipalities on public housing if he is elected as the next President of the European Commission.
- The European Union needs stronger rules to support public housing
- Labour MEPs will work with all parties in the European Parliament to facilitate the State provision of quality, sustainable public housing
- We will look to change, if needed, any EU rules that diminish the State’s ability to provide public housing and seek reforms to EU State Aid rules to ensure essential public needs like housing can always be met by State action in the economy
- We will make sure that European rules and supports for the return of residential services by public authorities (such as waste collection or water) to public control
- We strongly believe that the European Union must provide significant funding for public housing
- The European Structural and Investment Funds and the European Investment Bank must provide funding for public housing.
- Labour TDs and MEPs will demand that more flexibility about how investment in public housing is treated in relation to national debt and compliance with EU budgetary rules
- We are in favour of a single EU market for housing finance, to help drive down construction and mortgage costs
- We will look for money to be invested to create a EU-wide plan for Affordable Housing and Clean Public Transport, with co-ordination between EU structural funds and EIB funding
- The Labour Party will promote rules for universal design in housing and to ensure that neighbourhoods are fully accessible to people with sensory and mobility disabilities
- As our populations gets older, we will look to the EU to provide policies that promote better housing and living standards for older people