Minister Murphy ‘deliberately withholding costs of Part V Social Housing’ – Ó Broin
Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson Eoin Ó Broin TD has accused Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy of “deliberately withholding the costs of Part V social housing units from Oireachtas members”. The claim comes as Minister Murphy for the second time refused to provide information on the costs of Part V units via Parliamentary Question to Deputy Ó Broin.
Deputy Ó Broin said:
“Part V of the Planning and Development Act requires Councils to purchase 10% of any new private housing development. The purpose of the policy is to provide social mix in housing estates.
“As house and land prices continue to rise, developers are now looking for significant sums of money from Councils for their part five units. In recent months, we have seen a developers in Dalkey price Part V apartments at €516,400 per unit and in Cherrywood at prices ranging from €240,000 for a one bed unit to €440,000 for a three bed unit.
“In response to these developments, I have asked the Minister for Housing to provide a table of all Part V units purchased by Councils in the past 12 months and to provide an average cost per unit in each Local Authority Area.
“Despite requesting this information twice via Parliamentary Question, on September 11th and October 17th, the Minister has refused to divulge it. In my view, he is deliberately withholding the cost of Part V social housing units from members of the Oireachtas.
“This information is important as it allows us to determine whether public money is being properly spent. The current cost of a Local Authority delivering social homes directly ranges from €175,271 for a one bed unit to €200,726 for a three bed. The average cost of Council led social housing across all house sizes in €189.000.
“If Local Authorities are being asked to pay more than twice these prices for Part V units, this raises important questions. In the current housing and homeless crisis, is it right for Councils to purchase a single unit from private developer when the same money could fund two and a half units in a Council led development? Do the calculations used by developers in determining the price of Part V units need to be revised?
“Unless the Minister for Housing provides Oireachtas members with the information requested, we are not in a position to judge whether Part V purchases represent value for money. I have today submitted a third Parliamentary question to secure this information. It would be regrettable if I have to use the Freedom of Information Acts to secure information that should be readily available to all elected representatives.”
Note: Latest PQ reply on Part V costs
For Written Answer on : 17/10/2017
Question Number(s): 614 Question Reference(s): 43840/17
Department: Housing, Planning and Local Government
To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the number of Part V units purchased with funding from his department in the past 12 months by local authority area; the average price paid for these units in each local authority area; the maximum price paid for any Part V unit in each local authority area; and the number of properties purchased in each local authority area at a price above the average for that local authority area in the past 12 months in tabular form, in tabular form.
My Department supports local authorities and approved housing bodies to acquire new social homes through the Part V mechanism through the provision of capital assistance under the Social Housing Capital Investment Programme (SHCIP), Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF) and also through the long-term leasing of properties under the Social Housing Current Expenditure programme (SHCEP). As such, there is no one dedicated funding scheme for Part V units and the Department does not record information in the manner requested.
Some housing developments completed in 2016/2017 were subject to older Part V agreements made before 1 September 2015, when other options - such as a financial contribution, the provision of fully or partially serviced sites or the provision of land elsewhere in the functional area of the planning authority - were available. This means that properties currently being obtained via Part V may originate from either developments under old permissions and agreements or through agreements under the new legislative provision and accordingly, costs differ and an average cost would not be indicative.
Details on the number of social housing properties constructed, purchased and leased by local authorities and approved housing bodies, for letting to those on their social housing waiting lists, are published on my Department’s website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision. Information in respect of most areas of social housing is available up to quarter two of 2017, while specific data relating to social housing delivery under the Part V arrangements is available up to end 2016.