TDs call for Government to speed up plans for tax on vacant sites

The levy is currently due to come into effect from 2019

TDs from across the political divide have asked the Government to speed up plans for a tax on vacant sites.

They say it needs to be brought in sooner than 2019 to help with the housing crisis.

The Dáil's Budgetary Oversight Committee says the measure could be implemented earlier than the current plan of 2019.

The group of 15 TDs says introducing it before then would give land owners an incentive to develop it for housing.

It has also asked for the government to state clearly how it proposes to bridge the €4bn gap created if the USC (Universal Social Charge) is scrapped entirely.

The committee is tomorrow meeting with the Chief Economist at the Department of Finance and other officials to consider departmental forecasts ahead of next week's Budget.

It comes on the back of two reports by Daft and MyHome.ie which show house prices have risen by around 8% nationally in the past year.

Conall MacCoille, Chief Economist at Davy and author of the MyHome report, said: “The big picture is that the lack of housing supply is now clearly hurting transactions. In the first eight months of this year transactions are down 5% on 2015, albeit with some recovery in August.

"Clearly there are few constraints from the mortgage market with €1.8bn of approvals in the three months to August. Instead growing numbers of borrowers are chasing a diminishing pool of homes listed for sale," he added.