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Government spend on council housing construction down 80% under Fine Gael/Labour – Ellis

9 December, 2015 - by Dessie Ellis TD

Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Dessie Ellis has slammed the government’s failure to deliver social housing through local authorities as funding has decreased steadily since the government took office. He was responding to a reply from the Minister for Environment which showed that 2015 spending on construction of council housing was down 80% on 2011 figures.

Deputy Ellis said;

"We know that councils have not been able to draw down the funding promised to them by the government over the last yea,r but these figures clearly point the fact that the government is actively working against the construction of social housing by local authorities. The government have supplied in 2015 just 11.3 million for council housing compared to 24.6 million in 2014 and 58.5 million in 2011, the year they took office.

“Local Authorities are best placed to deliver social housing. They have land to use and the expertise to plan, design and construct housing where it’s needed to deal with the housing crisis. They cannot do this by themselves due to restrictions on their borrowing. Councils need state support to provide housing. We knew the government wasn't doing enough to deliver housing, but these figures reveal just how damaging government policy has been.

“In the last number of years Dublin City Council and other large local authorities, where housing need is severe and homelessness has been rising, have been unable to deliver more than a handful of homes. According to the data available through the Department of Environment, just 20 homes were built by Local Authorities in the first 6 months of 2015, 19 of them in Dublin city.  This is in the context of at least 130,000 applicants for social housing many of whom have been waiting years and over 5000 people homeless including 1500 children.

“Sinn Féin called for an additional 300 million euro funding for Local Authorities to deliver new homes. We have also laid out in our Housing policy document Better for Housing how 100,000 homes could be built in the next 15 years with large scale annual investment in housing through the local authorities. The resolution of the housing crisis cannot be achieved without local authority housing and the governments shameful underfunding of these bodies underlines their unwillingness to address the crisis seriously."

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