ICTU Calls For €1bn Home-Building Fund

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) has called for a €1billion home-building fund.

It also urged the government to end the reduced VAT rate for the Tourism sector that has cost some €2.2 billion in lost revenue and invest in key services such as Education, Health and Childcare to lower living costs.

ICTU Congress General Secretary Patricia King told Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe that a failure to properly tackle the Housing Crisis in Budget 2018 would see Ireland "pay a high price in terms of future social cohesion, damage to future growth prospects and increased living costs for working people".

She was meeting with the Finance Minister on priorities for Budget 2018 and the Congress pre-Budget Submission.

Ms King said: "We abandoned the housing market to private developers and let profit become the key driver of housing provision, but the market has failed and government must now step in and declare a National Housing Emergency and act accordingly.

"Local authorities should take the lead in a major housebuilding programme with funding of at least €1 billion from government, providing at least 10,000 social housing units a year by late 2018.

"Given that this is an emergency, Compulsory Purchase Orders must be utilised as a matter of urgency to ensure available serviced land is put to good use, while the introduction of the Vacant Site Levy should be brought forward from January 2019."

She continued: "We cannot afford a return to the developer-led and shaped policies of previous years despite recent attempts from that sector to extract more tax breaks and subsidies in order to build houses. That approach has led us directly into the crisis we see today.

"In the short and medium term, thousands of lives and life chances are being damaged beyond repair by the housing crisis. That itself is cause enough to act."


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