Cowen: 'Government need to address urgent need for affordable housing
Offaly TD and Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Housing, Planning and Local Government Barry Cowen TD says delivering on housing remains the key challenge facing this Government.
The Budget, which was negotiated with Fianna Fáil as part of the Confidence and Supply Arrangement, saw an additional €500m capital increase in housing, an extra €148m for the Housing Assistance Payment and an extra €18m for homelessness services.
The seven year Capital Gains Tax exemption has also been removed after continued Fianna Fáil requests. This will help reduce land hoarding and incentivise the construction of much needed housing.
However Deputy Cowen added that he is disappointed that the Budget contains no provision for an Affordable Housing Scheme and added that this will have to be addressed in the forthcoming Government Capital Expenditure Plan.
Cowen said, “Housing is the key challenge facing our country both economically and morally. Fine Gael has had six plans in less than three years and countless re-launches. If plans were houses we would not have a problem. However the key challenge is delivering on the countless commitments that have been made."
“Today’s funding increase comes after significant negotiations between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael in the context of the Confidence and Supply Arrangement. Boosting capital levels back up towards what they were in 2008 is vital to getting supply to the levels required to meaningfully address the housing crisis," he added.
He went on to say that over the coming months, Fianna Fáil will be "holding the Government to account" on the number of new homes that are built.
Another key issue for Cowen is the provision of an Affordable Housing Scheme to "open up home ownership to those squeezed out by current prices."
"It's disappointing that this has not been addressed in the Budget. The Government will have to show movement on this in the upcoming Capital Expenditure Plan," Barry stated.
“The fact that the Government is spending over €5m on its Strategic Communications Unit spin machine says a lot about their priorities. We expect action on housing over the coming months as per our Confidence and Supply Arrangement,” he concluded.
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