Catherine Murphy TD, co-leader of the Social Democrats, has questioned the logic of the State entering into 25-year leases with developers for the purpose of providing social housing.

Speaking in the Dáil today, Deputy Murphy said:

“Health has been front and centre this year due to Covid-19 and as a result the housing crisis has not got the attention it deserves. One of the most important things in any society is that its citizens have a secure roof over their heads.

“While there is a substantial budget in 2021 for housing, the way in which it is spent is of critical importance and value for money has to be a major consideration.

“Instead of acquiring housing under Part V arrangements, the State is accepting 25-year leases from private developers – and paying 90% market rents with four-year reviews built in.

“The State is paying the entire mortgage on a new house with no asset to show at the end of the 25 years. This strikes me as a most expensive way of delivering social housing and does not represent good value for the taxpayer.

“A spending review by the Department of Expenditure published last month showed that it can be up to 30% more cost efficient for local authorities to build their own social housing rather than buy ready built ‘turnkey’ units.

“There appears to be no long-term thinking of the consequences of long leases as opposed to direct builds or purchases. The Government needs to stop making policy choices that benefit developers at the expense of our citizens.”

December 9, 2020

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