“There has been an urgent and obvious need for a development agency to coordinate the acquisition of land and the building of houses that are affordable to buy or rent. However, what’s being proposed today will not deliver the radical reforms needed to properly tackle the housing crisis.”

The Social Democrats have described the government’s new Land Development Agency as an inadequate and unambitious response to the housing crisis.

The party’s Political Director and Spokesperson on Consumer Affairs, Anne Marie McNally, said:

“There has been an urgent and obvious need for a development agency to coordinate the acquisition of land and the building of houses that are affordable to buy or rent. However, what’s being proposed today is incredibly disappointing and unambitious. This agency will not deliver the radical reforms needed to properly tackle the housing crisis.

1. The Government’s plan proposes to deliver 7,500 new homes per year. Even if it manages to achieve that, it’s just a quarter of the 30,000 new builds needed each year to meet current demand. We will still be dependent on the private sector for the delivery of housing, a strategy that has failed in every other crisis.
2. The government’s proposal that almost a third of these new homes will be affordable is utterly inadequate. For this plan to succeed, all of these new houses must be affordable to buy or rent for ordinary people on ordinary salaries.
3. The €1.25bn in reported funding for the agency is completely inadequate to meet the government’s own building targets over 20 years.
4. Fundamentally we cannot rely on the private sector to resolve the housing problem. This proposal will do nothing to end land speculation and land hoarding. The Social Democrats have repeatedly called for specific land hoarding taxes and it is disappointing that this is not included in the new plan.

Ms McNally concluded:
“The best one can say is that finally there’s now a housing delivery agency being planned. This is something that the Social Democrats have been calling for for several years.

“For this to work, we need government action on a whole range of other areas. And that means ending land speculation, bringing in a constitutional right to housing, and balancing private property rights in the constitution with the public good. Private property rights are currently being used to limit state action in solving the housing emergency.”

ENDS

13th September 2018