Budget 2019 is set to expand subsidies to private sector landlords, in the form of HAP and other schemes, by 40% – compared to just a 20% increase in spending on building and acquiring new public housing. This is according to Workers’ Party Cllr. Éilis Ryan.

Commenting on the figures, Cllr. Ryan said:
“Fine Gael / Fianna Fáil’s budget is wrapped in so much spin that it’s easy to miss where the real shifts lie. But when we look at the figures in greater detail, it’s clear where they intend spending money over the coming years – by forcing more and more households into insecure, unaffordable private sector tenancies.

“Budget 2019 gives us a 20% increase in capital expenditure – money used to build and buy actual social housing. Even if this is actually delivered, it is still not nearly keeping pace with the massive growth in money being poured into subsidising social housing applicants in the private sector. The budget for HAP has grown by over 40% for the second year running.”

Cllr. Ryan said that the figures undermine the government’s promises that HAP is only a temporary measure, saying:
“It would be one thing to see an expansion in subsidies to private landlords if it was matched by equal – or greater – expansion in spending on building public housing. But it’s not – nowhere near it.

“If these patterns continue, within a decade the state will be spending more on housing people in the private rental sector than it is on actually building homes. What reason do we have to believe next year’s budget will be any different?”

Cllr. Ryan concluded:
“Fine Gael has set us up for a lose-lose situation. The 17,000 new households who will receive HAP because of this budget could be evicted at any time. And meanwhile the 40% increase in spending on HAP by the state is just money down the drain, with no new housing stock to show for it.

“The only winners, under this scheme, are landlords who will continue to benefit from inflated rents.”