Room for improvement on social housing policy
by Bregs Blog admin team
The following is a thought-provoking article by Dr Rory Hearne, Department of Geography, Maynooth University. Dr Hearne is author of chapters on social housing in two new edited books on housing in Ireland: Renting In Ireland (IPA) and Spatial Justice and the Irish Crisis (RIA). He is also author of Public Private Partnerships in Ireland.
Link to article here.
Room for improvement on social housing policy, Irish Examiner, 8th October 2014
“There is, unfortunately, little evidence of government policy taking implementation of social housing policy seriously. A Labour minister for Environment would be expected to embark on radical approach to dealing with the housing crisis by moving away from home ownership and providing high quality social housing and a tenant oriented private rented sector.
Perhaps the fact that at least 41 of the 166 TDs in the Dáil are landlords is mitigating against this (with some notable landlords including Alan Shatter who owns 14 properties, Tom Barry 10, Frank Feighen 10 properties and John McGuinness 8).
…Even from a mainstream economic perspective rising property prices and rents affects competiveness and is ‘wasted’ money removed from the domestic economy. The budget, therefore, must take bold and radical steps to address housing through systemic policy transformation.
…Iceland just recently successfully implemented, against the wishes of IMF and the OECD, a second round of household mortgage debt relief to the value of 8% of GDP (the Irish equivalent would be €14bn – a significant part of the €17bn in principal mortgage arrears of more than 90 days in Ireland) part funded by a levy on banks.
It includes a 13% writedown of the principal of mortgages coming to approximately 24,000 from every household’s mortgage. If Iceland, a country with a much smaller economy than ours can do it. Why can’t we?
…Our President described what is needed to be done very well recently when he said: “These are needs that are in fact citizenship needs …it isn’t a matter of waiting for approval from external ratings agencies or for financial matters to be made secure…It’s about democracy. You can’t leave the provision of housing to a residual feature of the market place…We have to accept that we need a great, huge increase in public rental accommodation.”
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