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Change in stamp duty will push up house prices - McDonald

3 May, 2007

Sinn Féin Dublin MEP Mary Lou McDonald speaking today at the launch of the party’s election campaign for the city said, “First time buyers are certainly in need of help but if stamp duty is changed in the current circumstances the only people who will benefit are property developers who will push prices up.”


Ms McDonald said, “The outgoing Fianna Fáil/PD government has virtually eliminated local authorities from the provision of housing.  Of the almost 100,000 homes built last year, only 2,700 were ‘social and affordable’.


“There are 5,100 people on the social housing list in Dublin Central and 1,288 people on the affordable housing list.  Many of today’s problems in this area can be traced back to 1985/’86 when huge tracts of land across the constituency were sold off. This is land that should have been used for the needs of the people of this community.  Instead a small number of property developers got very rich and it is now next to impossible for people to get social and affordable housing in this constituency.


“There is no government policy to build social and affordable housing. Changes to the Planning and Development Act allowed developers to buy their way out of their obligations and the result is that very few affordable houses have been built.  The fact is that in 2005 this government funded local authorities to build just over 4,000 social and affordable homes, more than 81,000 private properties were building the same year.


“A huge amount of work is required if we are to deal with the housing crisis and it certainly won’t be solved by the proposals to change stamp duty which are now being promoted by all of the other parties. Changing stamp duty in the current circumstances will only push house prices up even higher and make homes even more unaffordable.


“It is possible to help first time buyers and other home owners by increasing mortgage interest relief.  But this is only one measure.  What is required is a proper government led housing strategy.  Local authorities need to build at least 14,000 houses a year for the next five years to meet urgent demand.  The Planning and Development Act has to be amended to remove the get out clauses for developers so that affordable houses are actually built.  All new developments should allocate 30% to social and affordable housing.” ENDS

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