CITY councillors have reacted with mixed views to a plan to incentivise developers to build houses in strategic areas with VAT exemptions or reductions.
Lord Mayor Mick Finn has asked City Hall management to instigate housing and apartment builds - including social affordable and private housing - in strategic development areas such as the Docklands by making these areas VAT free or reduced to 5% to attract developers.
Mayor Finn said: “This comes from a briefing from the representatives of people who build houses and they are saying it is too expensive to build private and social houses. The big problem is supply and we need to make it cheaper for people to build houses and that will ultimately make it cheaper to buy houses as well.”
However, Councillor Fiona Ryan (Solidarity) said this is placing too much emphasis on the private market to deliver housing.
“It is a capitulation once more to the idea that we are resigned to never build public housing and that we can only try to incentivise the developers and speculators.
“I think, developers and landlords, at this stage, have been given nothing but incentives and the emphasis must be on putting pressure on the State to do what is necessary which is build public housing in the types of numbers that can actually bring up our stock.
“Not doing more to get the private market to build residential. They only focus on student accommodation, hotels and office space,” she added.
Ted Tynan (Worker’s Party) said he feels the Government is deliberately destroying social housing and promoting the private sector.
“Relying on the private sector has been an absolute failure,” he said.
Des Cahill (FG) asked that the wording of the motion stipulated the exemptions or reductions on VAT would only apply to developers building social and affordable housing.
The matter will be referred to City Hall’s planning strategic policy committee and will be discussed after May’s local elections.