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Ó Snodaigh slams €200million cut in social housing spend

7 April, 2009 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Housing Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has slammed the Government’s cutting of €200 million from the social housing fund and the commitment to expand the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) for public infrastructure projects in the emergency budget announced today.

Speaking after the budget was announced in the Dáil today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "At a time when more and more people are becoming dependant on social housing due to the unemployment crisis the Government has taken a retrograde step in cutting the social housing budget by €200 million inevitably causing the loss of yet more jobs.

"With rising unemployment in the construction sector the government should actually be looking at providing additional resources, or loan guarantees to local authorities to commence an expanded social housing new build programme. That would represent a significant boost to the sector and to the overall economy at the current time. The Government also needs to look at purchasing a quantity of the existing unoccupied newly built homes throughout the state.

"At the same time the Government has also announced its commitment to expanding the use of Public Private Partnerships for public infrastructure projects. This is despite the failure of these projects in the past and the collapse of vital regeneration projects such as St. Michael’s Estate and St. Theresa’s Gardens and others when the economic incentive for the private side of the arrangements fell through.

"The failure of the PPP model has caused hardship for thousands of families throughout the state where they have been used by the Government for public housing projects. They have also cost the state and motorists many millions of euros in road tolls when they have been used for the building of roads. Their use has been a failure to everybody other than the private companies who have made massive profits at the State’s expensive. And when there is no longer a profit to be made the private side simply walks away.

"There is no place for PPPs in modern Ireland. Public infrastructure projects should be funded directly by the public exchequer for the benefit of everyone." ENDS

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