By Michelle Devane, PA
The Government’s proposed concrete levy will put the “burden and pain” on homeowners rather on those responsible for construction defects, the Dáil has heard.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald called on the Government to scrap the controversial measure during Leaders’ Questions on Tuesday.
The Dublin Central TD said the levy will hit ordinary people in the pocket as they struggle with “sky-high” housing costs.
“Your proposal is flawed, and it will make the housing crisis even worse,” she said.
“You say that the levy is to ensure that industry contributes to redress schemes for defective blocks and pyrite.
“However, the reality is that this isn’t a levy on the industry at all – your scheme is really a levy on those desperately seeking to buy or build a home because companies will simply factor in they’ll pass on the increase to customers.
“(It) puts the burden and pain on ordinary homebuyers instead of where it belongs – on the banks, on the profits of big developers and on those responsible for defects.”
The levy on concrete blocks, pouring concrete and certain other concrete products was announced by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe in last week’s budget.
It is set to raise €80 million annually and is due to be applied from April 3rd at a rate of 10 per cent.
Mr Donohoe said the aim of the levy is to offset the “significant cost” of the redress scheme agreed earlier this year for homeowners who have been affected by the issue of defective products used in the building of their properties.
But opposition parties and housing organisations have argued the measure will result in higher house prices.
The Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland has forecast that it could add up to €4,000 to the cost of an average three-bed semi-detached house.
In response, Taoiseach Micheál Martin accused Sinn Féin of being the party of “doublethink and the three-card trick”.
“You support the levy on concrete products until you don’t; the industry responsible for the problem should pay, until it shouldn’t,” Mr Martin said.
“You are making this up as it goes along.
“God help us if you ever get near the national finances.”
He told the Dáil the Government was giving “unprecedented” support to first-time buyers who consisted of 26 per cent of properties purchased last year.