The Workers’ Party reacted angrily today to proposals from government that NAMA begin lending to commercial developers.

Responding to reports today (Tuesday), Cllr. Éilis Ryan of the Workers’ Party said:

“European interest rates are so low, that the Housing Finance Agency is already in a position to lend to local authorities to build housing at rates of in and around 2%. In that context, the idea that NAMA’s proposed 4-5% interest rates are ‘cheap’ is absurd.”

Cllr. Ryan continued by saying that ultimately, whether housing was private or public, the costs of financing would be borne by ordinary workers and families:

“The government and NAMA will no doubt defend this lending plan by saying it is targetted at commercial for-profit builders.

“But at the end of the day it is ordinary working people who will bear the cost of these interest rates – whether when purchasing a home, or through the cost to the state of buying Part V social housing from developers.”

Cllr. Ryan said that any funding which NAMA has is effectively state money, and should be used as such.

“NAMA and any money which it accumulates is without doubt state-owned. It is the Irish people who paid for its activities through the nose, after all.

“With that in mind, a far more cost effective plan would be for NAMA to lend what money it has for the building of a drastically expanded supply of public housing, at interest rates in line with those offered by the HFA. Cost rental public housing, available to all income levels, can cover its own costs and, as such, is a viable commercial enterprise for NAMA to undertake.

But this government remains intent on NAMA giving property developers yet another leg up.”