The new €1 billion housing plan announced by the government is simply another way to funnel public money into private hands.
The state is planning to subsidise private developers in building housing, specifically cost-rental housing. While cost-rental certainly can offer more affordable rates of rent to working people, the state should be able to do this itself without having to offer more public money to private developers. The construction of public housing by a state construction company could ensure high-quality housing at an affordable rate, both for working people to rent and for the state to build. This would also secure housing stock for the state, as well as a steady flow of rent, for years to come.
Developers are also going to be made exempt from paying development levies, which pay for new developments to be linked up with roads, water and other essential services. If the developers are making huge profits from such large scale projects as housing developments, it is not unreasonable to expect that they contribute towards ensuring the homes are actually liveable. The government have decided that the taxpayer must now foot this bill instead so that the developers can spend less and make more.
Additionally, the Croí Cónaithe vacant property grant scheme is set to be extended to landlords. This will see the state funding landlords who want to renovate their empty houses. Why should the taxpayer have to prop up a private business? This shows quite clearly that Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil exist to represent the political and class interests of landlords and developers.
The private market has failed time and time again to provide adequate housing to working people; we have no reason to believe that throwing another €1 billion to developers and landlords will serve the interests of anybody but themselves. Public housing is the only solution to Ireland’s housing crisis.