Sinn Féin: 'Damage has already been done' by help-to-buy scheme

Sinn Féin: 'Damage has already been done' by help-to-buy scheme

Sinn Féin is urging the Government to scrap the help-to buy scheme for first-time buyers.

There is growing speculation the Government is planning to get rid of the scheme, which is being blamed for increasing the rate of inflation in the housing market.

During the Fine Gael leadership campaign, Leo Varadkar indicated that the scheme would be reviewed if he became Taoiseach, and potentially phased out if was found to have an "inflationary effect" on house prices.

The grant was aimed at increasing housing supply, but Sinn Féin claims it has benefitted developers and driven up prices.

The scheme, introduced in the last budget, allows for a rebate of up to €20,000 for those buying a home for the first time.

The party says investing more in social housing is the correct approach.

Sinn Féin's finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said in a statement: "While I welcome reports suggesting that this scheme is to be axed in the upcoming budget the reality is that the damage has already been done and can be seen in the dramatic increase in house prices.

"What we need to see now is a real effort to tackle the supply and affordability issues. That must be led by major investment in building social housing."

He said the party's position on the issue has been vindicated.

He said: "It is really disappointing that the government didn’t heed the warnings from Sinn Féin and others that the help to buy scheme would only serve to drive up house prices.

"With this scheme Fine Gael, with the assistance of Fianna Fáil, have driven up house prices and have facilitated the transfer of millions of taxpayers money into the pockets of developers.

"Reports that the final cost of the scheme could be as high as €80million are quite worrying in that respect."


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