Property & Mortgages

Monday 28 July 2014

Social and affordable housing to be halved

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

Published 22/03/2014|02:30

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THE Government is going to halve the controversial requirement on builders to give a portion of new homes over to social housing.

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The Coalition is planning a raft of measures to speed up the building of family homes and create 60,000 jobs in the construction sector. The latest draft of the plan – which will see the rule on developers' contribution to social and affordable housing, known as Part 5 substantially reduced – will be discussed at the Cabinet next week.

At the moment, there is a requirement for builders to give 20pc of new homes over to social housing. This will now be reduced to 10pc.

The measure was intended to ensure a mix of social classes in new estates. But the view within Government is the measure has never really worked and has become another tax on development.

Following discussions between Fine Gael and the Labour Party, the obligation is now being reduced to 10pc.

The plan also includes a fast-track planning system to allow builders change existing planning permissions to build more family homes, rather than shoebox apartments.

Reductions in development levies for builders are proposed as councils now have income from the property tax. But a punitive tax on developers who are sitting on land without building on it is also planned.

SHORTAGES

Shortages of new housing in Dublin and other urban centres is causing property prices to bubble as demand for family homes is not being met by the supply.

A more formalised system of planning will be put in place to look at the housing, demographic and immigration trends.

The whole plan is aimed at doubling the amount of building activity on houses, offices and infrastructure.

The plan aims to triple the number of houses built from 8,000 new units in 2013 to 25,000 by 2016.

The Government believes the level of construction is not keeping pace with the new housing demand and infrastructure requirements of the country.

At the moment there are 90,000 construction workers drawing the dole.

The construction industry is actually under-performing as it accounts for just 6pc of GNP. The aim is to bring this up to 12pc and create 60,000 jobs in the process – 12,000 in the next year alone.

Irish Independent

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