Friday, 4 June 2021
Affordable Housing Bill 2021: Committee Stage (Resumed)
While I agree with what Senator Higgins has said, if we did not have a housing crisis and we had 20 years to ramp up scale, such as was the case in Austria after the Second World War, we could take the points made there and implement them to the letter of the law. However, approved housing bodies are on the State's balance sheet. We also have to be cognisant of the fact they do not have the ability to ramp up the scale to the ambition every Member of this House has for cost rental.
I heard my colleague, Senator O'Reilly, mentioning 20,000 units per annum. All of us in this House want to deliver scale. It would be silly of us, as legislators, to restrict the ability of limited return funds. Let us be clear, we are talking about limited return funds, not yields of 10% or 12%. We are talking about yields of 3% or 4%. We are talking about pension funds.
I have heard some Members of this House talk in glowing terms about what happens in Vienna and across Europe. If we take that as a fact, we have to allow what we are providing for here, because that is what is allowed in those models. It goes back to the points we made on this on day one. We need to use every tool at our disposal to be able to ramp up scale and delivery of homes for individuals and families.In this case, we are specifically talking about cost rental homes. It makes no sense, as Deputy Ó Broin has said, that limited return funds should be utilised in the provision of homes. I agree with him on that.