Budget 2019: Government ministers in spin as social housing figures don't add up

The actual number of council properties built by all 31 local authorities this year is 487, with eight building zero.

Government ministers are in a spin over housing as their own Budget figures don’t add up.

Paschal Donohoe yesterday promised 10,000 extra social homes – a mixture of new builds, buy-ups and leasing.

At least 6,000 were to be actual bricks and mortar – and Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy backed him up on it.

But by yesterday evening the Finance Minister admitted only 2,000 new social homes would be built.

Mr Donohoe said on RTE, “Yes, that is correct”, when it was put to him the real figure is 2,000.

The Government was slammed by campaign groups and all other political parties for the housing mess.

Critics said they failed to seize the chance to address the national emergency in the 2019 Budget.

The Opposition branded it a “landlords’ Budget” for giving them 100% mortgage interest tax relief.

There is also an increase in Housing Assistance Payments which will go straight into their pockets.

The proposals to help struggling mortgage holders, renters and the homeless were dismissed by others as a repackaging of old figures.

The Housing Minister was tackled by the Irish Mirror on the affordable and social housing plans.

He said: “What we’ve provided in this Budget is 10,000 new homes into the stock of social housing.”

The actual number of council properties built by all 31 local authorities this year is 487, with eight building zero. Sinn Fein housing spokesman Eoin O Broin said the Budget would only produce hundreds of new homes.

He also criticised the promised spending, saying most of it is double counting old figures.

Deputy O Broin added: “As for the €89million announced for affordable housing via the site services fund, €75million of this is carry over from 2018.

“This means just €14million in additional funding is being allocated for affordable housing in 2019. Despite all the boasting from Fianna Fail in recent days, all they will have delivered in their Budget negotiations is a paltry 350 affordable homes above what was already committed by Government.

“This Budget is just a continuation of the failed housing policy of Rebuilding Ireland and the Government’s over reliance on the private rented sector in particular to deliver insecure social homes. Today, they could have sided with the tens of thousands of people unable to access secure or affordable housing.

“They could have stood with the homeless, those on council waiting lists or those struggling to rent or buy.

“Instead they turned their backs on those in need making it clear the cosy coalition of Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are unwilling or unable to tackle the housing crisis.”

Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said: “We all know we are in the middle of the biggest housing crisis in

generations. We know there are 10,000 people officially homeless.

“We know there are over 100,000 on the housing lists and we know people are being hit with rent increases that are absolutely unbelievable.

“But you wouldn’t know any of that from being in the Dail and listening to Paschal Donohoe’s speech.

“What we had, in reality, was a landlords’ budget, written by a landlords’ minister who sits in a landlords’ Government.

“What they announced in terms of things that will actually affect the housing crisis was effectively nothing.

“They’re still dealing with essentially the same figures from Rebuilding Ireland from two years ago and just rolling them out every time it suits them.Solidarity TD Paul Murphy said: “We all know we are in the middle of the biggest housing crisis in

generations. We know there are 10,000 people officially homeless.

“We know there are over 100,000 on the housing lists and we know people are being hit with rent increases that are absolutely unbelievable.

“But you wouldn’t know any of that from being in the Dail and listening to Paschal Donohoe’s speech.

“What we had, in reality, was a landlords’ budget, written by a landlords’ minister who sits in a landlords’ Government.

“What they announced in terms of things that will actually affect the housing crisis was effectively nothing.

“They’re still dealing with essentially the same figures from Rebuilding Ireland from two years ago and just rolling them out every time it suits them.

“What they’re actually announcing in the area of housing is simply just further tax incentives for landlords through the extension of a full 100% mortgage interest relief.”

Mr Murphy added it would result in “a further massive transfer of wealth from the public pocket into the pockets of landlords already making profits double that in other European countries”.

He said: “That doesn’t do anything to deal with the crisis, it simply lines their pockets further.”

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