Wednesday, 20 July 2016
Housing (Sale of Local Authority Housing) Bill 2016: Second Stage [Private Members]
If the Deputy stops interrupting me I will give him the figures right now. I will tell him the damage this Bill will do. Anyone who deals with homeless people every day will say that the only source of permanent social housing now is existing council stock that becomes vacant. There is absolutely nothing new being built. Figures from the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government's website show that in 2014 the number of properties obtained for social housing through local authority construction and acquisition amounted to 285; the number obtained through retrofitting was 44; the numbers obtained through leasing and RAS, which is not permanent social housing, were 1,062 and 2,173, respectively; and the number of casual vacancies was 3,650. Do Deputies need any more proof that the only way people can get a permanent house in the community is through the passing on of existing council stock? Yet Fianna Fáil is proposing to get rid of that as a source, at a time when they know that nothing is being built. It is absolutely incredible. It is a vote-getting exercise at the expense of people on the housing list and the homeless. It will make life much more difficult for public representatives such as ourselves who are besieged every day by people seeking housing.
The Committee on Housing and Homelessness did not recommend this. It recommended a review of the tenant purchase scheme. I would be in favour of suspending tenant purchase during the housing crisis, but let us review it. Included in the review should be information about how many houses were sold on after they were bought. I see that happening a lot in council estates. Anyone who is familiar with council estates will know that private rented housing is the biggest issue in them. A review should include all of that plus the idea that councils are acquiring houses and selling them at the same time. This proposal is lunacy.