Thursday 27 October 2016

Government's plan for affordable housing is designed to fail

Published 26/07/2016 | 02:30

Minister Simon Coveney talks about the Government's new housing plan Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Minister Simon Coveney talks about the Government's new housing plan Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins

Experts are warning the Government that helping first-time buyers will increase house prices. As part of the Government's plan to solve the homelessness and housing problem, it will make €10,000 available to first-time buyers.

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But it's not a lack of money that prevents people from buying a house, it's the disproportionate price of houses relative to their salary. Let me ask you, what happens to the price of a good when more money becomes available for its purchase? Your 12-year-old self is shouting the answer: "It goes up!"

But that's what the Government wants, to offset the fall that house prices will experience once the Government starts its building programme.

The Government needs to keep house prices competitive. Let's be real. If the Government wanted to provide housing for all its citizens, it could. The Government won't do this. The reason is if there was housing enough for all, house prices would no longer be competitive. They would be reasonably priced, and, God(s) forbid, they would be affordable. Houses would no longer command extortionate prices.

The reason the Government needs house prices to stay so high and cost its citizens so much is to maintain an active workforce. Imagine if the house you bought had cost half what you paid - wouldn't you retire early?

The Government needs an active workforce to pay taxes, drive the economy, attract foreign investment and proffer up the State pension.

To prove the point that the Government exerts changes on societal conventions, the Government is incrementally raising the retirement age to safeguard the State pension.

The Government's plan to provide affordable housing is designed to fail. The past and present Governments have already tried on multiple occasions to solve the homelessness and housing problem, and they have failed every time. This is not a lack of ability. The Government doesn't want to solve the crisis. We'll see, come the end of 2016.

Gavin Wylie, Castleknock, Dublin 15

Charities and CEOs' salaries

The more I read about the Console scandal, the angrier I get - particularly as it shines a light not only on the charity sector but it also points to the inadequacies of the Government.

The size of the charity sector in any country can surely be used as a yardstick to determine the effectiveness of any elected government in managing its own financial affairs, as it is the responsibility of government to fund many of these essential services without the need to resort to fundraising.

Our politicians tell us the economy is improving; in the blink of an eye Michael Noonan found an extra €280m to pay the EU and he tells us that, in the overall context of our budget, it's small money. So you would think in this improving economy that the registration of charities should be in decline, or at a standstill. But it is not so. The graph is rapidly heading the other direction.

For me, successive governments have dragged their feet on legislation to curb the extravagant spending in some of these charities only because it would have exposed the financial crutch they themselves rely on to balance their own books. From my sceptical viewpoint, I would suggest that the rush for some towards the charity sector is an indication of people helping themselves, not others.

In conclusion, I would have to say that it would also appear the 'paying large salaries in order to attract the best CEOs' argument often used by charities to defend such salaries has backfired.

Eugene McGuinness, Kilkenny City

Meeting a microeconomist

If you met a leprechaun economist in a pub, would he buy you a double Irish?

John Williams, Clonmel, Co Tipperary

Hillary's poor choice for VP

It is very unfortunate that Hillary Clinton picked a vice-presidential running mate who is advocating the deregulation of banks - just eight years after deregulation caused an economic collapse and added some $10 trillion to the national debt.

While the big banks got bailed out, the American people got royally screwed. Tim Kaine is the exact opposite of consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren.

Donald Trump's accusation that Clinton is just a puppet of Wall Street appears to be true.

In 2008, big banks crashed the economy and they got away with it because of Obama's "too rich to jail" policy where none of the bankers who ripped America off were punished.

I had thought Hillary was the lesser of two evils. Now I don't know who is worse. All I know for sure is that the next president is going to be really, really bad.

Marc Perkel, Gilroy, California

Difficult times for motorists

Any motorist renewing their Insurance Policy is now guaranteed at the minimum to face an increase of 25pc up to 100pc. These increases are inflicted on drivers who have a clear no-claims bonus, no penalty points, and are now being forced to have another named driver on their policy, failure to comply will see a further increase.

I have listened to the various reasons given for the increases such as (1) the insurance companies have in the past been running at a loss. Followed by (2), it's the amount of claims now being dealt with. Regarding excuse (2) it's clear we are paying for all claims whether successful or not.

Where is the justice in a driver with a clean and clear record, now being asked to pay these exorbitant increases?

Could it be that the reason nothing is done to question these increases is the fact that the State get a piece of the action on every policy we pay for?

We thought the water charges were bad, but what's happening in motor insurance is worse. Who in Kildare Street will stand up for the motorist who is being robbed blind with no form of redress?

Fred Molloy, Dublin 15

Hot air rising from Donegal

Was it mere coincidence that the recent heatwave in Ireland occurred during the annual gabfest: the McGill Summer School?

The contribution to global warming from this annual event must by now be alarming scientific bodies around the globe.

Declan Foley, Berwick, Australia

Irish Independent

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