McDonald: 'Disgraceful' lack of measures for renters in Budget 2021


Jack Quann
Jack Quann

07.39 14 Oct 2020


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Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has described the Government's housing policy in Budget 2021 as 'cat'.

She also criticised what she said was a 'disgraceful' lack of measures for renters.

As part of Tuesday's budget, the Government allocated €500m for capital expenditure on housing for 9,500 new social housing units in 2021.

There will also be €65m available for deep retrofitting of existing social housing, and an expansion of Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Scheme.

The Land Development Agency will also have €1.2bn of funding available to deliver nearly 9,000 affordable housing and cost rental over the next few years.

Ms McDonald told Newstalk Breakfast: "It was an extraordinary budget because we're living in extraordinary times.

"I think your listeners will note that the fiscal rulebook got torn up and very, very large amounts of borrowing - correctly - have been made.

"By the way, we're in line with countries right across the continent and right across the globe in that regard."

But she said in terms of changes for people, there was nothing for renters.

"There was the sum of 110 million for affordable housing for a yet undefined shared equity loan, that's very disappointing.

"There was nothing for renters, there was a lot for landlords - a lot of supports for landlords, nothing for renters.

"We had been looking for a months' tax relief, a tax relief credit, to the equivalent of one months' rent to put it back in renters pockets."

"I think if you are a renter and if you're listening to this programme this morning and getting ready - or getting the kids ready for school - and you're worried about your rent, this is an important issue, it's not a marginal one.

"And to let renters down in that way at this time for us is disgraceful".

'No step change in housing'

"We know from experience that the bulk of family homelessness over the last number of years has come from the private rented sectors".

"We're in an emergency scenario, that's why we had the kind of budget that we had yesterday".

She said the Government had promised an "eye catching" housing budget "but the delivery was cat".

"We were promised, and in fact Fianna Fáil in particular, bragged that they had achieved a housing budget - the figures were very eye-catching - but the delivery was cat.

"The reality here is that there hasn't been the kind of step change that's necessary in terms of Government policy in housing delivery."

"As we speak Shane, and not withstanding the fact that we're living through a public health emergency, this phenomenon of co-living - wherein you pay eye-wateringly high levels of rent for a living space the equivalent of a car parking space - is still very much in vogue."

"We want 20,000 new homes delivered next year, we believe that that's what's necessary between social or council housing, affordable purchase and affordable rent.

"Let me just say this: As the days tick over and as the numbers are drilled into and disentangled, and when we actually get to really see the colour of this Government's money, I believe that we will see again the same old same failed housing policies of the last administration".

She said any investment in health is welcome and "urgently needed", but that "they could have gone further".

While she singled out a €100m allocated to disability services as "one thing that is good in this budget".

"That's the start, I hope, of budgets from here on in actually recognising people with disabilities and their carers and making proper provision.

"They shouldn't have to come out and  fight so hard every single time for every cent of funding that they receive".

McDonald: 'Disgraceful' lack of measures for renters in Budget 2021

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Main image: Mary Lou McDonald (centre) at the launch of Sinn Féin's alternative Budget 2021 at the Alex Hotel Dublin. Picture by: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ieShe said all investment in the health service is welcome, but

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Budget 2021 Capital Expenditure Housing Mary Lou McDonald Newstalk Breakfast Renters

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