Budget offered ‘more of the same’ on housing, says Ó Broin

Sinn Féin criticises lack of new measures in relation to rental market

Sinn Féin spokesman on housing, Eoin Ó Broin has queried figures published in the budget which state that capital funding for 2022 will deliver over 4,000 new affordable purchase and cost rental homes. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Sinn Féin spokesman on housing, Eoin Ó Broin has queried figures published in the budget which state that capital funding for 2022 will deliver over 4,000 new affordable purchase and cost rental homes. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Budget 2022 offered “more of the same” on housing and represented a win for Fine Gael whose policies are being continued, Sinn Féin has said.

The party’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the measures announced were “worse than I thought” and said that if the housing budget was a battle between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, then the latter won.

In terms of social homes, Mr Ó Broin said that 66 per cent of social housing output is taken from the private rental sector, reducing supply for renters and buyers.

He also queried figures published in the budget which state that capital funding for 2022 will deliver over 4,000 new affordable purchase and cost rental homes.

Speaking at a briefing in Leinster House, Mr Ó Broin said that he estimated that the funding would only provide for 1,250 affordable homes.

While Budget 2022 stated that the Land Development Agency would “support the delivery of over 1,000 cost rental and affordable purchase homes,” Mr Ó Broin said this was “aspirational”.

He also criticised the planned shared equity loan scheme as being not affordable. Budget 2022 has committed to providing an additional €44million in funding for the scheme which the Government says will assist in the purchase of 1,750 homes for new eligible buyers.

Sinn Feín has also criticised the budget for a lack of new measures in relation to the rental market. Mr Ó Broin said that there were no measures to reduce the cost of rents and nothing to stop rent increases beyond inflation.

Reforms linking rent increases with the rate of inflation were introduced by the Government in July, but have been targeted as ineffective by the Opposition after inflation rose to 3 per cent.

The Department of Housing is now considering reforms that will see rents only allowed to rise in line with inflation to a certain point before being capped.

Separately, Mr Ó Broin criticised the €20million figure being put aside for the defective blocks scheme as part of a potential Mica package.

He said the party supported 100 per cent redress but believed the industry needed to play a part in paying the cost of that. He suggested that if industry would not comply, the Government should use the threat of a new levy and be prepared to do introduce that if needed.