Government to build 20% social housing every year moving forward

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy defended the Government’s efforts to tackle the housing crisis

Government to build 20% social housing every year moving forward

Eoghan Murphy. Image: RollingNews.ie

The Government is aiming to ensure that 20% of new houses built in Ireland in the future will be reserved for social housing. 

On Between The Lines with Sarah McInerney this morning, Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy defended the Government’s efforts to tackle the housing crisis.

He insisted the 'Rebuilding Ireland' policy - which sets out a number of strategies to increase supply and boost social housing - is being implemented.

He pledged to ensure that its emphasis on social housing is continued into the future - even after the plan is complete.

“It is a principle-based approach,” he said.

“You would talk about there always being a certain percentage of the market of new builds ever year being built by the state in social housing.

“Even when we go beyond the finance - the money that I have in the capital plan until 2021 that will see those 47,000 houses built - that we would always have maybe 20% of new houses every year being built as social housing homes.

“Next year it will probably be a quarter.”

Cabinet reshuffle

He insisted the cabinet reshuffle following Leo Varadkar’s confirmation as Taoiseach had not delayed progress on tackling the housing progress – adding that his predecessor Minister Simon Coveney had put in place an “excellent foundation in Rebuilding Ireland.”

“There is always continuity in government,” he said. “Ministers change - that is one of the functions of a democracy.”

“When they do change the important things to do is make sure that you have that vision, you have that policy framework in place so that a new minister can come in – like myself – and work that framework.

“But also then take a second look at it to see, well what could be done differently to help improve it here?

“Because we should always be reviewing policy; we shouldn’t just publish a document and ignore it. We should have a rolling analysis and that is what we are doing at the moment.”

Housing and homeless crisis

It comes as over 90,000 people are on the social housing waiting list.

On Tuesday, new figures from the Residential Tenancies Board revealed that average rents across the country had increased by 6.6% in the 12 months to the end of June.

The figures set a new record high – with the cost of renting now almost 11% higher than it was at the peak of the Celtic Tiger.

The latest government figures show that more than 8,000 people were homeless in July.

Progress

Minister Murphy insisted progress is being made in tackling the crisis:

"As we do with the housing list, it's not just about completely new builds, it's also about using the housing assistance payment and the private market as well," he said.

"Over the course of the Rebuilding Ireland plan, we're going to deliver at least 47,000 new social housing homes into the market for people on the housing list, but we'll continue to build beyond that plan."

He admitted that the housing and homelessness crisis is “unprecedented” adding “that is why were putting so much into trying to resolve this as quickly as possible.”

You can listen back to the minister’s full conversation with Sarah McInerney here: