Government's housing plan 'lacks accountability'

Government's housing plan 'lacks accountability'

The new Government's housing plan has been criticised for a lack of accountability.

The Programme for Government, published yesterday, pledges an action plan to end the current crisis within 100 days.

It also promises to “accelerate the delivery” of the €3.8bn social housing strategy which was announced in 2014.

Local authorities will now deliver new housing in two phases, with 18,000 extra homes due to be built by the end of next year.

The Government also pledged to "increase Rent Supplement and Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) limits by up to 15% taking account of geographic variations in market rents, and extend the roll out by local authorities of the HAP, including the capacity to make discretionary enhanced payments".

Under the programme, first-time buyers will benefit from a “help to buy” scheme to provide “affordable” mortgages.

"The Government submission to the Central Bank will include a request to consider a ‘capacity to pay’ test (e.g. the payment capacity of potential purchasers based on rent paid over a five year period to be off-set against the current deposit rules)," the Programme for Government states.

But housing expert Dr Páraic Kenna, from NUI Galway, said that the Government proposals do not mention any consequences for a failure to deliver on their promises.

"For the action plan, it's good and it involves all the stakeholders, when completed there will be timelines for each specific organisation," he said.

"But it doesn't actually say what happens if these are not met, although there's going to be targets and deadlines, and a Cabinet review, it doesn't really give anything about who is accountable if these targets are not met."


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