The Government should lower VAT on building materials to cut crippling costs for people building their own home, according to Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue.
The cost of building an average 1,800sq ft house has increased by a whopping €60,000 in the last year, Mr O’Donoghue said.
To lessen costs for purchasers, the Limerick TD suggested the Government introduce a lower VAT rate on building materials, similar to reductions previously applied to the tourism industry.
A self-described “small-time local builder” for 30 years, Mr O’Donoghue said he has been working at the coalface of persons trying to get onto the property ladder.
He said the escalation in costs is due to several factors, including the likes of delays at Ports and the recent annual hike in Carbon Tax.
"Another example relates to the price of timber, which has rocketed by over 40 per cent in the blink of an eye. What’s the root of this element? It comes back to the Government. A simple solution to felling licences would be to include them in licences granted for planting forestry and growing trees," Mr O'Donoghue said.
"This would have to be monitored, but we are seven months into the year and we still do not have felling licences."
Steel prices have risen by as much as two-thirds in the last 12 months, he added.
This means that “all the costs are being put onto people who want to build houses”.
"The cost increase of a 2,600sq ft house, for example, in the past 12 months is €84,000, a figure which is rising week by week.
"Almost 40 per cent of our population live in rural Ireland, not that our leaders acknowledge that. Fisherman have protested; farmers have protested. SMEs and the people of rural Ireland too will also soon revolt against this urban-orientated Government of ours,” he said.
“The Government does nothing for towns, villages and rural areas. The Government has never given us funding to upgrade our infrastructure so that we can help the environment and address the housing crisis," Mr O'Donoghue added.
The Independent TD also urged for a temporary reduction in the VAT applied to building materials, which would help lessen the burden on home buyers.