[Sinn Fein]

15 June 2000

Government housing measures `too little, too late'

Rack-renting landlords should face speculation tax and rent control

Sinn Fein TD Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the Government's promise to build an extra thousand houses a year is simply not enough with 50,000 (fifty thousand) applicants on local authority waiting lists.

Sinn Fein also criticised the Government's failure to introduce rent controls in the private-rented sector and its exemption of ``rack-renting'' landlords from what it called ``the speculation tax''.

The Sinn Fein TD welcomed the move on stamp duty for first-home buyers and the new tax on investors buying homes for non-owner occupation although he described it as ``limited'' and said the Government's housing measures are ``too little, too late''. Deputy Ó Caoláin said:

``Those on low incomes are in dire housing need and there is little for them in these measures. Local authorities should be leading the attack on the housing crisis. An extra 1,000 local authority housing units for the next six years is simply not enough.

``The gross inequality in this society is seen as multi-millionaires compete at the top end of the market for so-called prestige properties, while people on average incomes are either crippled with huge mortgages, cannot afford a mortgage at all or, if they qualify, join the ever-growing local authority waiting lists.

``To present these measures as the solution to the housing crisis is a travesty. It has taken three years for the Government to come up with these proposals. It is too little, too late.''.

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