Dáil debates

Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)


4:35 pm

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Ag tosú le cúrsaí tithíochta, leanfar leis an infheistíocht is airde riamh in 2023 le breis agus €4.5 billiún i gcomhair tithíochta. Is í tithíocht an príomhcheist in Éirinn inniu agus tuigeann an Rialtas é sin. Ní mór dúinn feabhsú a dhéanamh ar mhaithe lenár ndaoine agus táimid in ann é sin a dhéanamh. Cinnteoidh an buiséad seo gur féidir linn leanúint ar aghaidh ag tógáil ar an dul chun cinn atá déanta cheana féin i dTithíocht do Chách.

Too many of our people are struggling to buy their own home, pay the rent or secure a roof over their head. This budget is a major step forward to tackle these problems head on. It marks an historic €4.5 billion capital investment to underpin our unprecedented Housing for All plan and deliver the largest State homebuilding programme ever, with 9,100 direct-build social homes and 5,500 affordable homes envisaged for 2023. People owning their own homes is good for families and good for communities. Our Housing for All plan puts home ownership back at the heart of Irish life and back in the reach of our young people. To support this, budget 2023 funds a comprehensive €900 million homeownership package to directly support over 15,000 households to buy their own homes next year. That includes a 30,000 help-to-buy scheme which is extended to 2024. The €50,000 vacant and derelict property grant has been extended to rural areas and cities. There is funding of €100 million for the game-changer first home scheme and €90 million for the affordable housing fund.

Rents are simply too high, and not enough homes are available. Boosting supply is the key to addressing this but we also need to help renters now. Housing for All and budget 2023 do both. There is a €1.2 billion direct renter support package to help 500,000 renters. That includes the new tax credit of €500 per renter. That will be payable in early 2023 and backdated to 2022, meaning €1,000 per individual renter in 2023. We will continue to support over 70,000 households in direct rent-support payments via the housing assistance payment, HAP and the rental accommodation scheme, RAS. We will further expand the State-backed affordable cost-rental schemes which have already taken root in our country.

In order to address the scale of the housing challenge as speedily as possible, we need to make the most of existing buildings. Budget 2023 contains €209 million for a specific set of measures to help address vacancy and dereliction. The budget also penalises vacancy and underuse of land with an unprecedented set of taxes. It introduces a new vacant home tax with a trebling of the local property tax, LPT, for empty homes in order to tackle underused homes. It continues to roll out the first-ever residential zoned land tax to penalise land hoarding.

Housing for All is fully funded. It is a multi-annual plan with homeownership delivery at its heart in contrast to the plan put forward by the main Opposition party which is riddled with enormous black holes. The Sinn Féin alternative budget commits to delivering an additional 2,900 new social homes by 2023 above Government targets. However, its cost per unit makes no allowance for inflation or supply chain issues. It based its cost directly on housing delivery in 2021. It is not credible for anyone to claim that they can deliver more units quicker with less money despite inflation. Deputy Ó Broin knows this but he simply stumbled over that truth before picking himself up and carrying on as if nothing happened.

In addition, there is another gaping €300 million black hole at the heart of Sinn Féin's new tax credit proposal. With more than 400,000 renters eligible, the Sinn Féin proposal would cost €600 million, yet it has only allowed for €300 million. Sinn Féin must publish its detailed costings and be honest with renters. We are doing something to help that is real. Sinn Féin needs to publish the costings and fess up to the fact that it is missing €300 million

The one thing we are clear about regarding Sinn Féin's alternative budget is that it is against home ownership. Further proof of that is that it would scrap the help-to-buy scheme which has helped 32,000 households to buy and own their own homes. It proposes to scrap the first home scheme which allows the State to step in and help with equity for the homebuyer with hundreds of homes already being delivered through that. Inexplicably it would scrap the croí connaithe scheme grants of up to €50,000. Therefore, we know what Sinn Féin is against, which is clearly home ownership, and it needs to be honest with its figures.

Chun críochnú, cabhróidh an cháinaisnéis seo le daoine a íocann cíos, le daoine atá ag iarraidh teach ar phraghas réasúnta a cheannach agus le daoine atá ag fanacht ar theach sóisialta ón gcomhairle áitiúil. Tógfaimid níos mó tithíochta sóisialta ná mar a tógadh riamh in Éirinn. Cabhróidh an cháinaisnéis seo le daoine nach bhfuil teach acu a chor ar bith. Tá an plean Tithíochta do Chách ag obair. Tríd an gcáinaisnéis seo, tógfaimid ar an dul chun cinn tá déanta agus cuirfimid luas leis an dea-obair an bhliain seo chugainn. We have a targeted plan which is fully funded and supported by the budget.


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