Fianna Fáil Senator and spokesperson on Housing, Mary Fitzpatrick, has said Sinn Féin’s Alternative Budget is devastating news for anyone trying to buy their own home.
The Senator in Dublin Central said she found it astonishing that their plans include doubling the stamp duty on the purchase of new homes and the scrapping of the First Home and Help-to-Buy Schemes as well as the Vacant and Derelict Property Grant.
She said, “These schemes are directly helping individuals and families get out of a rental trap and own their own home and get direct assistance to buy their own home.
“The First Home Scheme sees the State provide up to €100,000 to first time buyers and is available in conjunction with the Help-To-Buy refund administered by Revenue where new buyers can claim back up to €30,000 as a deposit towards the purchase of a new home. That’s a saving of up to €130,000 on the price of a new home that Sinn Féin want to deny to first time buyers, it’s simple unfathomable.
“Their opposition to these Schemes and Grants, that are helping people today, show that the party is more interested in scoring political points than in policies to solve the housing crisis.”
The Fianna Fáil Senator also called on Sinn Féin Housing spokesperson, Eoin Ó Broin, to clarify what his party’s Alternative Budget proposal to rightsize older tenants in prefabricated units on unidentified inner-city sites and ringfence their homes for families with children in emergency accommodation would look like in practice.
Senator Fitzpatrick said: “Deputy O’Broin must urgently clarify what the proposal to rightsize older tenants and ringfence their homes actually means for tenants. How does Sinn Féin plan to persuade older people to give up their homes and move to these proposed small infill housing developments? What will these new housing developments actually look like? Deputy Ó Broin and his party claim to place a priority on detail and fairness in their housing policy but have singularly failed to meet that priority here by not explaining to older tenants what would happen to them were they in government.”
Senator Fitzpatrick also highlighted other issues in Sinn Féin’s plans for Housing under their Alternative Budget. She said, “Sinn Féin have said they will deliver 3,700 additional social homes. They have not explained how, where or when these homes will be delivered. They have budgeted €929 million for these homes, meaning an average unit cost of €251,000. This is despite the Department of Housing providing information to the party that shows the average cost of a new build social home is €303,818, meaning there is a glaring €200 million hole in their finances that must be explained.
“Deputy Ó Broin himself has also recognised that urgent action must be taken to stem the flow of landlords leaving the market. However, he has simultaneously proposed a €400 second home tax under his Alternative Budget that would apply to 770,000 homes, based on his own figures, thus applying to all small and accidental landlords. This is a clear example of the party’s contradictory and confusing policies towards small and accidental landlords.”
“The fact is their numbers don’t add up and a Sinn Féin Government would add ten years to the housing crisis.”