Extra revenue should go towards housing not rainy day fund

Labour spokesperson on Housing Jan O’Sullivan TD has warned that any additional revenue from house building activity should be invested in public social and affordable housing rather than put into a rainy day fund as recommended by the Fiscal Advisory Council, and at the same time would reduce public spending on rental supports.

Deputy O’Sullivan said:

“The Fiscal Advisory Council is calling for any additional revenues that arise from increased house building activity to be placed in a Rainy Day Fund, however this ignores the under investment in social and affordable housing that such revenues could be used to address.

“There is a chronic shortage of public housing, both social and affordable, while the State sits on a large land bank, and spends hundreds of millions on private rental supports through HAP, RAS, and rent supplement.

“Any windfall gains from an increase in the private construction sector should be targeted at a long term investment in our housing needs. Our population continues to grow, but the State and local authorities continue to spend more on private rental supports. This is not sustainable.

“A structured plan of productive investment would reduce the cost of rental supports, while building permanent, public homes on land already available that local authorities are struggling to develop.

“The inability of local authorities and the Government to build enough housing is causing further costs to be placed on the State. Locking money away in the Rainy Day Fund when housing is so desperately needed is the wrong choice.

“The State should be taking a more direct role in the housing market, and by doing so would resolve the long term fiscal sustainability of rental payments, and provide local authorities with the wherewithal to develop the hundreds of acres of land they currently own.”