The Government’s efforts to tackle the housing crisis in Budget 2023 have been described as “an embarrassment” by Sinn Féin.
In his budget speech, Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe declared that, “The Government has made unprecedented levels of investment available to-date and we are seeing results.”
He pledged to keep the Help-to-Buy scheme in place until at least 2024, introduced a vacant homes tax and announced there would be a new €500 tax credit for tenants.
However, Sinn Féin’s housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin said that it was a missed opportunity to channel more money into the sector:
“The total extra capital spending in the housing portfolio is €37 million,” he lamented to The Hard Shoulder.
“That’s an embarrassment. House prices are rising, rents are rising, homelessness is rising.
“And the private sector isn’t able to deliver the volume of genuinely affordable homes that’s required.
“What we should have seen was a dramatic increase in direct capital investment for local authorities and housing bodies.
“Not just for social housing but also cost rental and affordable purchase.”
A housing credit for renters has been Sinn Féin policy for some years now but Mr Ó Broin said the Government’s proposal did not go far enough:
“A measly €500 credit with no ban on rent increases will be absorbed by those tenancies where landlords increase their prices,” he complained.
“It’s nowhere close to enough.”
He was equally cutting about their record on compensation for homeowners with mica defects in rural Ireland:
“Only €5 million extra in Government funding,” he continued wearily.
“Yes, Paschal has been true to his word and he’s adopted a long-term Sinn Féin proposal for a levy on industry - he hopes that will raise €18 million.
“But the Government is only increasing its contribution by €5 million at a time when we’re going to have much greater demand.”
Main image: Eoin Ó Broin Picture by: Leah Farrell / Rollingnews.ie