Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 3 June 2021
Select Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government
Land Development Agency Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
I would like the Minister of State to respond directly to the point I made and, more to the point, to what the ESRI has said today. It is directly challenging the logic behind the Government’s approach, as embodied in the Land Development Agency Bill. The Government’s obsession with public private partnerships and involving private investment, as well as the knock-on consequences of all of that in having to operate on a commercial basis, leads then to the requirement to sell some of the housing at full market price. All of this is being justified on the basis that we have to keep the LDA off balance sheet, we do not want to inflate Government debt and so forth. The ESRI is directly challenging that logic. The Minister of State should respond to the point.
I add to that the point I made about the huge cost we are incurring annually, which continues to grow, through leasing and HAPs arrangements because we are not building enough of our own stock of public housing. In the case of the LDA, we will not maximise the potential we have on our own land to deliver our own stock of public housing because the Government insists that some of it will have to be sold privately at market prices and so on. It is, therefore, limiting the ability of the public land bank to develop public housing which can then wean us off the extortionate annual cost of the rental accommodation scheme, RAS, and HAP arrangements, which are required to substitute for the failure of the State to develop on a sufficient scale its own stock of public housing. The Minister of State should also respond to that point.