Fianna Fáil TDs concerned at party stance on first time buyers

Jim O’Callaghan, Jack Chambers question decision to amend ‘help to buy’ scheme

Buyers of homes up to €600,000 would also be entitled to the proposed income tax rebate, although it would be capped at €20,000. It will only apply to new homes and self-builds. File photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

Buyers of homes up to €600,000 would also be entitled to the proposed income tax rebate, although it would be capped at €20,000. It will only apply to new homes and self-builds. File photograph: Neil Hall/Reuters

 

A number of Fianna Fáil TDs have raised concern over the party’s stance on the first time buyers’ scheme.

The party has proposed the cap for the Government’s “help to buy” scheme be reduced from a maximum home value of €600,000 to €400,000.

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan have proposed an income tax rebate worth up to 5 per cent of the price of a home to a value of €400,000, allowing for a maximum rebate of €20,000.

Buyers of homes up to €600,000 would also be entitled to the rebate, although it would be capped at €20,000. It will only apply to new homes and self-builds.

Dublin-based TDs including Jim O’Callaghan, Jack Chambers and Senators Catherine Ardagh and Lorraine Clifford Lee questioned the party’s decision to amend the scheme at a parliamentary party meeting on Tuesday.

The deputies said houses in their constituencies were being sold at €600, 000 and insisted families purchasing those houses should not be excluded from the scheme.

The party’s housing spokesman Barry Cowen robustly defended the measure at the meeting.

He insisted anybody who could afford to purchase a home for over €500,000 should not be receiving a grant from the State.

It is understood Mr Cowen was supported by the party leader Micheál Martin.

Speaking on Tuesday, the party’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath said: “Fianna Fáil does not believe the scheme is the right policy at this time. We will not bring down the Government on this, but we will engage on some of the key issues on Committee Stage.

“We remain of the view that the €600,000 threshold is exceptionally high and does not property target limited taxpayer resources. People building their own homes are unfairly treated under the terms of the scheme provided for in the Bill.”