Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
Victor Boyhan (Independent)
I want to focus on amendment No. 38. The reality speaks for itself. It is in black and white and in English. The amendment has been circulated. There is no difficulty. If people believe what is suggested and the amount in question to be a cap, we can include a provision in the legislation. Let us have clarity regarding the legislation.
Amendment No. 38 deals with several issues and I do not see any reason it cannot be agreed to. I acknowledge what the Minister has said — I read the transcripts of the meetings — and I have no difficulty with that but I believe this is an important amendment that should be included in the legislation. I want to take the House through a few issues in respect of it.
The amendment is to section 10, concerning the assessment of eligibility for affordable dwelling purchase arrangements. It puts in legislation a cap of 35% on what can be charged for affordable housing. It is not a case of what the Minister says or anyone's intention. Through my amendment, I am seeking to put my wording into the legislation. The amendment would be to section 10, on the assessment of eligibility for affordable dwelling purchase arrangements, and it would place a cap of 35% on the amount of an applicant's net income that could be charged for affordable housing. If the applicant is paying more than that amount every month just to put a roof over his or her head, it is simply not affordable. The amendment would benefit those who cannot afford a home at the market rate, including those whose incomes are in the bottom 40% and who do not qualify for social housing. That could not be clearer. It is a commonsense amendment. It would ensure that ordinary people will be able to afford the affordable housing the Government is offering, which housing I welcome. The amendment is about affordability and being able to avail fully of the affordable housing being offered by the Government. I hope, therefore, the Government will take the amendment on board. It is clear and simple. I do not see any reason it could not be agreed to. I am not doubting the Minister's commitment but this is about amending legislation. It is important to put the wording I propose into the legislation.