The Government should be taxing the profits of the construction industry, not concrete blocks, Sinn Féin has urged.
As part of last week’s budget, a Defective Concrete Products Levy was introduced that will increase the cost of a concrete block by 10% and the revenue will be used to fund the Mica Redress Scheme.
Industry insiders have complained it could add as much as €3,000 to the cost of an average family home.
However, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said that it was necessary to help the Government offset the cost of mica homes or those that do not meet proper fire safety standards:
“Unfortunately, these things do have to be paid for,” he told Newstalk.
“And we felt that the least worst way of doing that was to put a levy on construction."
That the construction sector should pay to correct the mistakes of the past is not something that Sinn Féin disputes. However, the party believes a concrete block levy is poorly targeted and will drive up the cost of housing:
“Rather than a very narrowly focused levy on the products of certain concrete blocks, what we’d like to see is a levy across a much broader sector of industry that would include quarries, manufacturers, building contractors and bankers,” the party’s housing spokesman, Eoin Ó Broin, told The Pat Kenny Show.
“It should be on the profits, particularly of the larger companies able to absorb them - that’s the best way to work it so it’s not passed onto homeowners.”
He also noted that many of the larger companies “were directly involved in defective products and defective buildings during the Celtic Tiger or are headed up by directors who previously ran similar companies that were directly involved in defects.”
The party has tabled a motion to be debated in the Dáil, urging the levy to be scrapped on the grounds it is “badly designed and unacceptable.”
Main image: A housing development County Kildare. Picture by: Eamonn Farrell/RollingNews