'Homes need to be built on vacant sites': Cork TD raises concerns that vacant site levy isn't working

'Homes need to be built on vacant sites': Cork TD raises concerns that vacant site levy isn't working

Cork North Central Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould is now calling on the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, to issue an urgent statement outlining his plan for reform of the levy.

A CORK TD has claimed that the Vacant Sites Levy is “failing miserably” in its attempt to encourage people to use their empty land for building houses.

Cork North Central Sinn Féin TD Thomas Gould is now calling on the Minister for Housing, Darragh O’Brien, to issue an urgent statement outlining his plan for reform of the levy.

It comes after the Parliamentary Budget Office published figures showing that only four local authorities reported collecting revenue through the levy this year. 

Cork City Council has taken in over €21,000 through the levy.

Deputy Gould said: “The Vacant Site Levy (VSL) was brought in to encourage landowners to utilise their empty land and build houses. It would appear that it is failing miserably in this attempt. 

"As of the end of 2019, only 17 of 31 local authorities had active vacant site registers. The VSL is determined at 7% of the market value of a site. 

"Only four local authorities reported collecting revenue under the levy in 2020 and again, only four reported the same in 2019. The levies collected were nowhere near the site value. 

"Cork City Council have collected just under €21,875 to date in 2020, with vacant sites of an estimated market value of €27 million - this represents only 0.08% of their value.” 

He continued: “Local authorities have raised many concerns about the Vacant Site Levy including confusion in determining vacancy. What is clear is that this is not working and that something needs to be urgently done to ensure that sites are not left sitting idle while people wait for homes. 

"The Minister for Housing needs to respond to this report and publish a strategy to ensure that we see homes for workers and families built on vacant sites.”

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