Details of new concrete block levy to be ‘worked out’, Taoiseach says

Government hopes to raise €80m a year from the levy to part-fund €2.57bn redress scheme for mica-hit householders

The details of a new levy on concrete blocks will be “worked out” in legislation, but “there has to be some revenue stream” to contribute to the huge cost of resolving issues with defective homes, Taoiseach Micheál Martin has said.

He was speaking ahead of a Sinn Féin private members’ motion calling for the levy, announced in last week’s budget, to be scrapped.

Coalition backbenchers, meanwhile, have raised concerns about the proposed levy amid concern it will add to the expense of buying a new home. Estimates for the impact of the levy on the additional cost of a typical three-bed semi-detached home last week ranged between €800 and €1,600 in estimates available to the Department of Finance, to as high as €4,000.

The Government hopes to raise €80 million per year from the levy to part-fund a €2.57 billion redress scheme for householders whose homes have been damaged by defective blocks that contain mica.

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Sinn Féin’s housing spokesman Eoin Ó Broin said the Government’s plans for a levy were “flawed and risk making the housing crisis even worse”.

He added that was it “totally unacceptable” that house-buyers “should be expected to foot the bill for the concrete blocks scandal”. His party’s Dáil motion calls for a levy targeted at banks and major developers.

Asked at an event in Dublin if he was open to this, Mr Martin replied: “Private members’ motions are political by nature. They’re designed for a political debate in the House. The Finance Bill will deal with this issue in terms of fleshing out the proposals. And I’ve made the point already that the expenditure around the pyrite issue, the mica issue and the apartment defects issue, is a very significant expenditure.”

He said the revenue stream provided by the levy would not match the expenditure in its entirety, but it would “show people that where there’s massive expenditure going on there has to be some revenue stream. But the details of this will be worked out in the Finance Bill.”

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn is a Political Correspondent at The Irish Times