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Reducing social responsibility of property developers will not help housing crisis – Ellis

24 February, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis TD has strongly condemned proposals by the Minister for Housing to remove social responsibility clauses from developers describing them as a sham solution to a very real crisis.

Deputy Ellis was responding to plans by the Minister to remove Part V of the Planning Act which requires developers to building 20% for social and affordable housing on any development over 5 houses.

Deputy Ellis continued;

“These requirements in Part V are not “punitive” as reported. They ensure that a very modest amount of private housing is set aside for those on lower incomes in order to fight spiralling housing need.

“There is no evidence that these clauses are stopping developers from building homes. This would seem to have much more to do with low selling prices, high rent prices and a large number of empty homes across the state. The government is once again plucking numbers out of thin air.

“The vacant site tax which is included in these proposals is a good idea to encourage landowners to make use of property which is lying idle and keeping rents high in both the commercial and residential sector.

“If the Minister wants to really tackle housing need she needs to start building local authority housing, to tackle the artificially high rents caused by her subsidising of the private market and to fast track delivery of NAMA housing as well as working with councils to utilise unfinished estates.

“Sinn Féin proposed over a year ago that this government could through the European Investment Bank and other sources fund the building of 9000 local authority homes but this was ignored. It is through the redevelopment of the social housing stock that the housing crisis will be tackled not by allowing developers to opt out of their social responsibility.

“The government cannot shirk its responsibility and pretend the private market will swoop in provide housing for those most in need.”

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