Wednesday 13 December 2017

Government signals it won't bow to pressure to increase rent allowance rates

Country’s housing crisis is escalating

Daniel McConnell, Group Political Correspondent

The Government has signalled it will not bow to pressure to increase rent allowance rates to address the country’s escalating housing crisis.

The Cabinet is to discuss plans to address the shortage at its weekly meeting today.

On his way into the Cabinet meeting, Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin suggested the Fine Gael/Labour Government will not increase rent allowance levels in a bid to tackle the shortfall of accommodation.

However, he said Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton will give more flexibility to allow for people's circumstances.

Speaking on his way into the meeting, Mr Howlin said that rent allowance cannot chase rent.

He said he is talking to the National Treasury Management Agency about ways to provide additional funding for the construction of social housing.

The Labour party has been keen to stress in recent days that dealing with supply was the way to solve the housing problem.

His party leader, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said the Government will concentrate on refurbishing boarded-up housing units and completing unfinished houses to address the housing problem.

However, he said the cap on rent allowances would be reviewed.

Fintan McNamara, of the Residential Landlords Association of Ireland, said there are between 3,000 and 4,000 such units available in Dublin, which could be used immediately to tackle the housing crisis.

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