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Ó Broin expresses alarm at privatising Part V social housing proposal

25 July, 2016 - by Eoin Ó Broin TD

Sinn Féin TD and spokesperson on Housing, Planning, and Local Government Eoin Ó Broin has expressed alarm at media reports that property investment fund Bartra Capital is planning to buy part V social housing obligations and lease them back to local authorities for profit.

Deputy Ó Broin said:

“Reports that a property investment fund is launch a €100m fund to purchase Part V social housing obligations from property developers or local authorities are effectively moves towards the privatisation of social housing provision.

“The proposal as reported in yesterday's Sunday Business Post suggests that an investment fund will buy out a private developers Part V commitments, build the units and lease them back to the state for profit. 

“If this report is accurate, then what should be social housing owned by the state will become private housing leased back to the state at greater cost with less benefits to tenants and communities.

“The current Part V obligations are only 10% of the housing development. Instead of these units being added to the State’s social housing stock via local authorities or approved housing bodies, they will be privatised adding further to the government’s over reliance on private sector to fill the gap left by its failure to build sufficient social housing units. 

“With only 75 social housing units built by local authorities in 2015, Part V obligations, however limited, add much needed housing units to the social housing stock.

“The Housing Action Plan suggests that up to 6,000 real social houses will be produced a year for the next six years. How many of these units will be owned by property investment funds, like Bartra Capital, for a profit?

“The government cannot continue to over rely on the private sector to meet all the various and complex housing needs of its citizens.

“In the Social Housing Bill 2016, Sinn Féin proposed to increase the Part V commitments to at least 25%. We need more state or AHB owned housing units, not less. 

“Minister Coveney needs to clarify what exactly are his plans for Part V and state how he plans to regulate the movement of property investment funds into the social housing ‘market’.” 

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