Monday 23 January 2017

Howlin backs Kelly's rent idea

Michael Cogley and David Raleigh

Published 20/10/2015 | 02:30

Minister Brendan Howlin
Minister Brendan Howlin

Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin has lent his support to the proposal to link rent to inflation - despite twice declining to back the plan on Budget day.

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Mr Howlin yesterday said linking rent prices to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) would be an appropriate "anchor" in achieving so-called 'rent certainty'.

Negotiations involving a number of government departments are due to continue this week in a bid to thrash out a package that will tackle spiralling rent bills.

A row over the issue overshadowed the budget and led to significant tensions between Environment Minister Alan Kelly, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and their respective officials.

Speaking in Limerick, Mr Noonan played down reports of a rift between him and Mr Kelly.

He said the pair are "working together" to help those struggling to meet high rents.

"The talks are going on and we're not in a position to make the next series of announcements yet, but we will in the next couple of weeks."

Meanwhile, in Dublin, Mr Howlin lent support to linking rent to CPI - which is among Mr Kelly's key proposals.

Mr Kelly intends for such a measure to be in place for a few years so as to allow housing supply to be ramped up.

Mr Howlin said the overall rent package should not negatively impact on the property market. But he also said he did not believe linking rent to CPI would have that effect.

"I don't think so [that it would harm the market], not in the short term. I think you need to have some anchor and CPI is obviously one anchor that would be perfectly understood."

Irish Independent

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