News & Media

Developers Budget Fails Renters and Young People

13 October 2020

Statement by Senator Rebecca Moynihan
Spokesperson on Housing, Local Government and Heritage
Rebecca
  • No hope for housing crisis unless State ramps up construction beyond todays weak commitments
  • Help to Buy will only inflate housing prices and shared equity line developers pockets
  • Labour called for over €1 billion extra to be invested to deliver an extra 10,000 homes.
  • Nothing for renters in Budget as evictions and rent increases return.

Responding to the housing measures in Budget 2021 that will simply reward developers, Labour spokesperson Rebecca Moynihan said the proof will be in the delivery of new builds in 2021 and whether we finally see an affordable housing scheme, as she criticised the failure to provide any supports to renters.

Senator Moynihan said:

“Any young person watching the Budget today will have little hope of seeing the housing crisis addressed unless we see far more radical action from the State beyond what we’ve heard today. This pandemic has exposed the cost of our broken housing system. People working in low paid jobs ‘hot bedding’, renters losing their jobs unable to pay their rent, while the crisis of homelessness and social housing continues.

“In the Budget announcement we’ve heard lots of grand proposals on housing, but it still lacks the ambition needed to address the crisis once and for all. There is no ambition in our direct build targets, which is a drop in the ocean to what we need to build over the next 5 years. Our two tier system will continue unless the State finally stops relying on the private market and developer led planning. Extra funding for homelessness is welcome but without radical state building it won’t address the root of the problem.

“The shared equity scheme and the extension of the Help to Buy is simply and transfer of state money to developers rather than focussing on provide state led affordable housing and affordable rental. There was much touting of an affordable housing scheme that will cost nearly €110m but the details still haven’t been worked out. I am really concerned at the lack of detail in the announcement on how much is going towards affordable rental and how much for a shared equity scheme.

The so called “affordable measure” of a Shared Equity scheme and the insistence on continuing the Help to Buy  at the inflated grant level of €30,000 will simply drive up prices for young people, while padding the pockets of developers.

“Fianna Fáil in government have not reversed the disastrous policies  of Fine Gael but they have added to our problem through their insistence on shovelling money to developers through their so called ‘affordable housing’ plans and the Help to Buy Scheme. This is a developers housing budget, which will provide little comfort to renters or people who need affordable housing.

“Under Labour’s Housing Plan we would have established a €16 billion fund to build 80,000 homes over 5 years to ensure affordable housing for all, starting with €5 billion from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and €500m of annual seed capital. We will also increase the social housing construction budget to deliver a further 2,000 public homes on top of the commitment to at least 8,900 in 2021 under the NDP, and ensure allocations for traveller accommodation are spent by local authorities. Now is the time for the State to build more homes as recommended by the ESRI.

“There is no commitment to invest in a Community Infrastructure Fund that would provide for facilities like community centres and playgrounds for any large public housing developments as Labour has called for, nor is there any real action on a redress fund for construction defects. We in the labour party have called for substantially more funding for Housing Adaptation grants to support more people to stay in their homes as there is a big backlog now.

“Labour believe that schemes such as the ‘Help to Buy’ which was prioritised in the July stimulus will not solve the housing crisis. What is needed is state investment in building housing, and the political will to support renters in the private rented sector.”