Public housing and public pensions
Sir, – The Government’s proposed 10-year strategy on the construction of housing is seriously flawed if it involves simply selling public land, bought at great cost to the taxpayer, to the private building sector, regardless of any “safeguards” which might be put in place (News, January 16th).
Ireland, we are told, is going to have a massive problem paying for pensions in the future as the ratio of workers to retirees falls.
As many pension funds around the world are in the habit of using rental from housing to fund pension plans, surely it makes sense for our Government to do the same.
Rather than always using public land solely to build social housing for low-income families, surely it makes sense to also build rental housing for middle-income and higher-income families on public land. Over a relatively short period of time, the initial cost of construction would be recouped and the rental income become available to supplement or eventually displace the taxation used at present to fund our public pension scheme. Many families would welcome the opportunity to have a stable long-term rental available to them not reliant on the whims of a private landlord.
If a private pension fund can do this in a viable manner, I can see no reason why the State cannot.
Of course private building firms could still be used to build the actual dwellings, so employment in the construction industry wouldn’t be affected, but the ownership and the rental stream would belong to the citizens of Ireland for the public good.
The State would also be creating another long-term income stream for the benefit of Ireland, which was one of the recommendations of the troika (to create diverse sources of tax income), as well as providing a tempering influence on the rental market. – Yours, etc,