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Housing funding still below levels from worst days of recession - Dessie Ellis TD

14 October, 2014 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson has today said government increases in housing spending were only replacing the money they had already cut over their term in office and increase in housing promised were not enough give the scale of the crisis. He made his comments following the release of expenditure plans for housing as part of Budget 2015.

Deputy Ellis said;

"The government behave as though they have not cut year on year from housing and deepened the housing crisis. They have in this budget only scratch the surface of the harm they have done.

“This year Sinn Féin published a plan to build at least 6600 additional homes. The government refused to move on the issue saying it would take too long to deal with the problem. Now 5 months later the government have released plans for investment in housing which would only deliver a similar number of houses over a period of three years. It is welcome that more houses will be delivered but this is not an acceptable timeline given the scale of the crisis we face.

“At the end of the day, while there has been an increase in spending, the capital budget for housing is still nearly 50 million less than it was after the huge cuts of Fianna Fáil. There may have been an increase to homelessness spending but only after cuts in previous budgets that have put record numbers on our streets or in emergency accommodation.

“The government is also spinning this announcement with projections of delivering thousands of homes in 2017 and onwards. The great likelihood is that these parties will not be in government at this time meaning they are pulling figures from thin air.

“Housing needs significant investment and we welcome that the government has finally listened to Sinn Féin on the establishment of the off the book vehicles for the delivery of social housing. Unfortunately the government has decided to continue its policy of passing on responsibility for social housing to voluntary bodies instead of using off the book structures to work with local authorities to provide housing. This can refusal to provide let local authorities build homes is also seen in the rehashing of the disastrous PPP policy which failed so many under Fianna Fáil and was the cause of much of the problems in social housing which exacerbated the crisis in recent years.

“It must also be said that the sale of state assets like Bord Gáis Energy was the wrong policy for the government to pursue and using that money for social housing does not absolve them of that decision."

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