Thursday 29 September 2016

New housing policies are just the beginning

Published 06/05/2015 | 02:30

Failure to invest in housing provision in recent years has left as many as 90,000 people languishing on council waiting lists.

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In the absence of new homes coming on-stream, many people are forced to live in sub-standard accommodation, and for that reason alone the Government's announcement that it will invest €312m in some 1,700 social housing units is to be broadly welcomed.

One point of concern is the fact that many units will be built in clusters, signalling a return to the council estates of old. That is far from ideal.

A second strand of policy is the Living Cities Initiative, which offers tax relief to owner-occupiers who refurbish housing units built before 1915. Both these measures will help boost the property market and provide new homes, but they have been a long time coming.

The Government has failed to tackle the housing crisis. The elimination of waiting lists, and 110,000 new homes, are promised by 2020 at a projected cost of €3.8bn. How much more funding will be found for housing in the run-up to the General Election will be telling. It can only be assumed these announcements are just the beginning.

Irish Independent

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