The Workers’ Party believes that the state should be the primary provider of housing. State housing policy has been reduced to being the facilitator of corporate greed through unsustainable tax breaks, non-existent supervision of standards, low corporation tax, and guaranteed rental income.
Only the state, working for the common good rather the maximisation of profits, can mobilise the legal, planning, financial, engineering and other necessary capabilities to create on a long-term and sustainable basis the necessary housing, in the required quantities and of proper standards, to meet the needs of the people.
The price of building land must be controlled. The failure to implement the Kenny Report and place controls on rezoned land prices has resulted in a small politically-connected elite becoming fabulously wealthy through land rezoning, and in widespread and debilitating corruption in local authorities and especially in County Dublin
The Workers’ Party is committed to:
- Large scale construction of local authority owned housing through a state construction company and direct labour schemes.
- Allocating the necessary resources to local authorities for an immediate and substantial programme of social housing construction.
- Establishing housing as a basic and essential human right. Without fair access to suitable housing the supposed rights to family life, to healthcare, and to education are hollow.
- Ensuring that planning should provide the transport links, childcare facilities, local amenities, and stability that allows for vibrant and inclusive communities.
- Strictly controlling the price of building land. For almost five decades successive governments have refused to implement the recommendation of the Kenny Report.
- Guaranteeing that all housing built must reach the highest international building standards.
- Strengthening and enforcing the Derelict Sites Act so as to stop dereliction and speed up the regeneration of brown field sites.
- Implementing a windfall tax on all profits from land rezoning.
- Ending the privatisation of social housing.
- Supporting local, non-profit, cooperative, self-build, own-use housing initiatives.
- Ending all property related tax incentives as these have proven to be economically disastrous for this country.
The Private Rented Sector
There is a crisis in the private rented sector of the housing market. Thousands of individuals and families are being forced into this market by the refusal of successive governments to invest in social housing and by the policy of the deliberate sell-off and run down of local authority housing stocks. The Workers’ Party believes that individuals and families in the private rented sector are entitled to decent living conditions, fair rent, protection against exorbitant rent increases, security of tenure, and protection of deposits against illegal or unjust deductions.
In government the Workers’ Party would:
- End the subsidy to private landlords by the phasing out of rent supplement and its replacement by local authority owned property.
- Implement a comprehensive package of measures to ensure that tenants in private rented accommodation have fair rents, security of tenure, decent standards and conditions.
- Immediately legally implement deposit protection by ensuring that all deposits are held by an independent body like the PTRB in an independent and self-financing fund.
- Introduce legislation to control not only rent increases within tenancies but also between tenancies and set out clear guidelines by which rent levels can be established. This must be accompanied by legislation to ensure security of tenure for tenants whose properties are being sold as a result of landlord mortgage arrears.