People Before Profit TD slams announcement by Tanaiste that she will not change rent allowance caps

rbb housing press conferenceIn a statement this afternoon People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett, has slammed the announcement that Minister Joan Burton will not be raising the rent allowance caps.

The Rent Allowance caps are currently totally inadequate and do not come near to the actual rents across the country.  Rents are rising at an average rate of 9.6% in Dublin and the current rent allowance caps have remained the same since June 2013.

The current announcement by the Tanaiste comes after a review of the rent caps by her department.  People before Profit have been calling for this review for well over a year.

Richard Boyd Barrett TD said: “It is unbelievable and frankly insane that the Minister will not raise the rent allowance caps.  How can we base rent allowance on rent levels of two years ago when rents have rocketed over the last two years.

Clearly the Minister has zero compassion or understanding for the suffering of ordinary families.  Every day in my clinic I meet people who are at risk of homelessness or are actually homeless because they cannot find any accommodation within the rent limits.  This decision is a recipe for a disaster and will only serve to accelerate the crisis, increasing the tide of people flowing into homelessness.

The People Before Profit TD added:  “Obviously an increase in the rent caps is not a long term solution but refusing to pitch rent caps at the actual level of rents guarantees that thousands more families and individuals will be faced with crisis situations over the coming months. These families will be left to beg community welfare officers for latitude to prevent them becoming homeless. It’s just not fair to do that to vulnerable people.  

If the Minister is really concerned about the cost rising rents might impose on public funds, the answer is to immediately introduce rent controls and at the same time commence an emergency programme of council house building to relieve pressure on private rented accommodation. Tragically, the government are refusing to introduce rent controls and their social housing programme is completely bogus based almost completely on outsourcing social housing to private landlords.

The only way to get the urgent and radical change of policy that we need to deal with the housing and rental crisis is to have a movement of People Power along the lines of the Right2 Water campaign.  We are hosting a conference this weekend to start building that campaign. 

The Right2Housing conference is taking place tomorrow, Sat 28th in the Academy Plaza Hotel, Cathal Brugha Street from 10am – 4.30pm.