LABOUR Party local area rep Paul Brophy has criticised plans by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to put €500 million into a Rainy Day Fund as we grapple with a housing crisis. Instead Labour is calling for 2,000 affordable homes to be built with the money and offered for rent.
Paul told The Reporter: “A much better use for the money would be to invest in affordable housing.
“We are a housing crisis; latest figures showed nearly 4,000 homeless children, rents reaching record highs across the country, and house prices continuing to rise.
“It’s time for Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to scrap their plans and concentrate on the immediate crisis. The question has to be asked why two years into this government it still hasn’t tackled this major issue.
“In Kilkenny City and County we desperately need more affordable housing, we have a growing housing list of over 2,000 people and according to most recent data for May 58 people are now officially homeless.
Let’s not forget there are many people young and aged who do not show on any official stats, people who are locked out of purchasing or renting their own home”
“A fund of €500 million could build over 2,000 homes and costs would be reduced by doing this on publicly owned land.
“There are over 700 sites available across the country, adding up to 1,700 hectares.
“Estimating a build cost of €250,000 per unit, a conservative estimate of the cost of building apartments, at least 2,000 new homes for rent could be provided.
“Investment in housing would be an asset for the State and there is an urgent need.
Creating affordable rented housing is crucial to allow people to take up jobs in a context where private rents are exorbitant. This investment would benefit the economy, and allow job growth.
“This would be a one-off, capital investment, so that there is no recurrent commitment, and it would be much more prudent and productive than hiding €500 million away in a bank account somewhere or invested in stock exchanges around the world
“It is not prudent to ‘save’ money, if a lack of affordable housing is holding back sections of the economy.
“This is the kind of strategic investment that the government should be leading on, not putting taxpayers’ money into cold storage where we have no idea where that money will be invested.”