24 November 1999
Sinn Fein Pre-Budget Submission - Housing A presentation by Councillor Seán Crowe South Dublin County Council at Buswell's Hotel, Dublin
Tomorrow, it will be exactly a year since I sat here at our 1999 pre-Budget submission and spoke of the government's failure to remedy the housing crisis. Twelve months on, much has changed - but not for the better.
The lack of affordable housing in our towns and cities has put home ownership even further out of the reach of many ordinary people. The result is more people sharing crowded family accommodation, increasing numbers of families on local authority housing lists and an increase in homelessness, particularly among young people.
One of the primary failures of the current government has been its lack of effective action to tackle the biggest housing crisis in our history.
Proposals in the Planning and Development Bill for provision of a proportion of social housing in private developments have been presented by government as a solution to the crisis but they are already bogged down in controversy with the government backing down in the face of opposition from the construction industry.
Plans for 22,000 local authority dwellings over the next four years are totally inadequate, and would not even cater for the current waiting list, let alone the expected increase in need. Tinkering at the edges of the private housing market will not address the current crisis.
Sinn Fein proposes:
- Massive State investment in a new and comprehensive Social Housing Programme, funding the local authorities to house our citizens.
- The control of land prices with a statutory ceiling on the price of land zoned for housing to stop speculation and reduce soaring housing prices. A constitutional amendment to allow for this if necessary.
- Rent control and strict application of standards in the private rented sector.
- A renovation grant of up to £5,000 to help home-owners to improve their properties.
- A special grant to encourage utilisation of urban and rural derelict sites for new domestic dwellings.
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