Sinn Féin - On Your Side

Housing crisis ignored once again in Budget

3 December, 2003

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Housing Arthur Morgan T.D. speaking following the Budget announcement has angrily criticised the Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy for ignoring the housing crisis once again.

Deputy Morgan said

"This Budget will have done absolutely nothing for people attempting to house themselves and their families. What is in here for the 48,000 people on housing waiting lists in this State, 85% of which have an annual income of less than €15,000 per year? The Government has chosen to attack rent allowance for the second consecutive year. This measures will, I have no doubt, bring about an increase in homelessness where vulnerable people will find that they cannot get into the private rented sector.

"It is a year since the Government abolished the first time buyers grant, leaving people in that category much worse off. The Government should have reinstated this measure in today's budget and applied it to new and second hand homes.

"The failure to address the problem of local government funding is also exasperating the housing crisis. Because local government is not being properly funded local authorities are imposing heavy development charges which are passed onto the new house buyer making houses increasingly unaffordable. Some authorities are seeking to get out of housing provision altogether.

"It is scandalous that this budget does not include an immediate ending of tax relief for speculative buyers of second homes and the restoration of gains tax to its 1997 level of 40 per cent.

"This budget shamefully fails to make adequate funding available to increase the total social housing rental stock to bring about the reduction and elimination of housing waiting lists. This Government seems to think such a housing waiting list and the huge difficulties with affordability of housing is a perfectly acceptable part of life for the disadvantaged of this State." ENDS

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