Tuesday, 4 October 2022
Defective Concrete Products Levy: Motion [Private Members]
Johnny Guirke (Meath West, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source
There is serious concern over this concrete block levy, with genuine fears of serious increases in house prices. Those building a home will be faced with increased costs. What the Government is doing is placing the cost of defective materials on the shoulders of people who are struggling to buy a home or who had no hand, act or part in this scandal. It was under the Government’s own watch that there was light-touch or no regulation.
The scheme is badly designed and will mean first-time buyers see their house prices soar. The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has warned that this scheme could see €4,000 added to the price of a house, and that on top of huge increases in building materials in the last two years. This is hitting ordinary people's pockets at a time when they are already struggling with sky-high housing costs due to this Government's failure to tackle the growing housing crisis across the State. It will cost jobs as some small contractors would have contracts signed at least a year in advance and they will not be able to absorb those extra costs. The cost of concrete had already increased by approximately 30% since February 2021.
Our motion calls on the Government to hold those actually responsible for housing defects to account. It calls for a defects levy that instead focuses on big developers, banks and those responsible for the defects. At the minute, the banks own most of these assets that are worth very little or nothing. We are going to hand them assets that are worth hundreds of thousands of euro each, with no cost to them. Talk about backing a horse that loses and you get your money back. That is what is happening with the banks.
On RTÉ’s “Drivetime” last week, it was said that the levy should be abolished pending further discussions. It was said:
It seems to me to run contrary to the Government’s policy to make housing affordable as possible. You don’t make something affordable by increasing the price of a basic ingredient.
That is not Deputy Eoin Ó Broin talking; it is Deputy Willie O'Dea. For once, I would have to agree with him.