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Ó Caoláin - Increased revenues should be used for social housing

6 January, 2004

Sinn Féin Dáil leader and Finance spokesperson Caoimhghin Ó Caoláin has called on the government to use increased revenues to provide more social housing in 2004 and to reverse cutbacks in the Rent Allowance scheme. Commenting on the exchequer figures which show tax revenues coming in €450 million ahead of target, Deputy Ó Caoláin said there was "either a serious flaw in how the exchequer figures are calculated or there has been manipulation of the figures".

The Sinn Féin Dáil leader said:

"These are a remarkable set of figures but hardly surprising given past experience. The Minister for Finance promised no cutbacks before the last General Election but shortly afterwards it was revealed that plans for €900 million in public spending cuts were being prepared in his Department. Cuts were duly imposed on both subsequent budgets.

"The substantial increases in both Stamp Duty and Capital Gains Tax now shown in the Exchequer figures are primarily being put down to the so-called buoyant housing and property market. I don‚t believe the Government should be taking any credit at all for this.

"It is clear that far from addressing the chronic housing crisis that has existed over the lifetime of this and the previous FF/PD Coalition, the Government have been content to preside over spiralling house prices in a market designed to benefit speculators and landlords. The Government now has a moral obligation to use increased revenues from this speculative and inflated market to increase the supply of social housing. It should also immediately reverse the cuts and restrictions in the Rent Allowance scheme which are driving people into homelessness."ENDS

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