Radical measures are needed to stop the Government pandering to developers and to start building affordable housing.
That’s according to People Before Profit who has a motion up for debate in the Dáil later to set up teams to take control of vacant properties.
The political party wants local authorities given powers to buy unused sites through compulsory purchase orders so they can build homes.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett says the ‘dirty secret’ of government policy, despite claims that it is attempting to resolve the housing and homeless emergency is, in fact, “primarily facilitating rampant land hoarding and property speculation, by property investors, developers and land owners.”
Deputy Boyd Barrett said: “NAMA policy and legislative changes in planning and development, introduced by Fine Gael over the last number of years, were actually promoting land and property speculation and sabotaging any serious attempt to dramatically increase the provision of public and affordable housing.
“The evidence that both public and private land owners are hoarding land is overwhelming. There is, according to the Department of Housing’s Land Availability Survey, enough zoned land in the country (both public and private) to build nearly 415,000 new homes, yet in 2017 local authorities only built 1000 homes and while NAMA sold enough land for 50,000 homes to private developers, only 3,000 are under construction on these lands.”
The Government could be forced to set up teams to track down and take control of vacant properties suitable for affordable housing.
People Before Profit motion calls on the government to make 5 radical changes in government policy:
- Building public and affordable housing on public land to become central pillar of resolving the housing crisis and end the reliance on the private sector. The motion notes that between Local Authorities and NAMA, the state has enough land to build 114,000 homes.
- The establishment of Empty Home and Property teams in all Local Authorities with power to bring empty buildings and property (owned privately or publicly) back into use for public housing, if they are vacant for longer than 6 months.
- Increasing Part V social housing obligation in private development to a minimum of 20% (40% in cases of LIHAF funding) and the transfer of land to Local Authorities rather than the completed units where there is evidence of drip feeding, speculation or hoarding.
- To immediately define affordable housing in terms of income of buyer, not a discount on market prices.
- An immediate change to the remit of NAMA to become a vehicle for public and affordable housing, noting that NAMA has, under its control, enough zoned building land to provide 65,000 homes.