Social housing announcement – triumph of spin over substance and masks continued move towards privatisation of social housing provision
Less than a third of promised 35,000 units will be new council houses – barely scratching the list.
In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, for the People Before Profit Alliance, responding to Minister Alan Kelly’s much awaited new Social Housing Strategy, has said the plans announced will not even begin to address the current housing and homelessness emergency.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said also that apparently impressive commitment to deliver 35,000 housing units and meet the housing needs of 110,000 households on the housing list by 2020 was thoroughly deceptive and designed to mask the fact that the proposals were predicated on the continued privatisation of social housing through leasing arrangements with private landlords and Public Private Partnerships with private developers and corporate investors.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said 75,000 families on the housing list would simply be re-categorised from rent allowance to the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) while remaining in the same insecure private rented accommodation. He said also that of the 35,000 new units promised by 2020 less than a third would be actual council houses, barely keeping pace with the number of new housing applicants each year.
Deputy Boyd Barrett said that only an urgent variation in the rent allowance caps policy, the introduction of rent controls, and a return to large-scale direct provision of local authority housing through an emergency public works programme could address both the short term and long term housing crisis.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “Minister Kelly’s announcement today is a classic case of the triumph of spin over substance, an overblown fanfare that mask a wholly inadequate and thoroughly deceptive response to a housing a homelessness crisis that is spiralling out of control.”