jump to navigation

Housing and my union dues March 23, 2017

Posted by Tomboktu in Economics, Housing.

Today I was very happy to see some of my union dues being put to good use beyond my own personal needs or interests. My union is a supporter of the Nevin Economic Research Institute, and the Institute published its proposals for responding to the housing crisis: the establishment of a new state company to commission or undertake a programme of building, acquiring and renting new homes in Ireland. Tenants would be charged rents that reflect the cost of building (and financing the building) of the new homes.

It is a brilliant proposal, and if implemented would achieve a number of outcomes: most obviously, to provide the additional housing that is so badly needed in Ireland, but also to interfere with the highly distorted market in a constructive way by providing a significant volume of rented accommodation at prices that match to cost of providing it (building costs, maintenance costs, repayments on capital advanced, etc.) and therefore provide an economic lever to shift the price of rental housing across the market downward into more reasonable territory. (I think it is that second aspect of driving down excessive prices, rather than the cost of the initial investment, that is more likely to impede the implementation of the proposal.) Finally, it would shift the underlying values in public policy by treating housing as a social good, a right, and the basis of a home, and not merely a market commodity to be traded in the short term for the maximum possible profit.

I’m very happy that some of my dues contributed to funding that work (however tiny a fraction it may have been).


The 79-page working paper on the proposal is here: http://www.nerinstitute.net/download/pdf/irelands_housing_emergency_time_for_a_game_changer.pdf



1. WorldbyStorm - March 24, 2017

Brilliant stuff. Good to see this sort of approach being supported in a tangible way.


2. EWI - March 24, 2017

It’s great to see, and kudos to NERI, who do great work.


3. Gavin Mendel-Gleason - March 24, 2017

It’s a great proposal and very consonant with the vision put forward by the Workers’ Party in our document on financing public housing and I’m glad to see they credited us in it! The main differences between ours and the one here is largely down to us proposing to extend the current differential rent scheme to capture more people.


Liked by 1 person

4. Jolly Red Giant - March 24, 2017

It is a shame that the Institute is called after a rank right-wing opportunistic bureaucrat.


5. GW - March 24, 2017

Absolutely. It’s the only way forward.

The market-driven sector will provide only artificial scarcity and a high-rent cartel. Because for them it’s all about profit, rather than providing housing.


6. dublinstreams - March 26, 2017

is their a path to implementation to go along with this excitement?


7. Paddy Healy - August 12, 2017

Census Shows 765 Children Under 4 among Almost 7000 Homeless !
Barnardos, Fr McVerry Support Call For FORMAL DECLARATION OF NATIONAL HOUSING EMERGENCY Made By Seamus Healy TD In Dáil amendment over 6 months ago!
Debate on Amendment to Housing Bill Including Full Details of
Dáil Vote http://wp.me/pKzXa-Rd
Those who opposed the Amendment of Seamus Healy TD to the Housing Bill Declaring a National Housing Emergency are responsible
GOVERNMENT DEFEATED Amendment Calling For Formal Declaration of a National Housing Emergency with Support of Independent Alliance ,Labour Party and the Greens. Fianna Fail and Rural Independents ABSTAINED


8. Paddy Healy - August 12, 2017

HOUSING EMERGENCY http://wp.me/pKzXa-Rd
Government IGNORES ICTU General Secretary
Seamus Healy TD has officially complained to Ceann Chomhairle that the Minister for Housing made no attempt to answer the specific questions asked and has sought that the Minister be instructed to answer the questions asked
DÁIL QUESTION addressed to the Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government (Deputy Eoghan Murphy)
by Deputy Seamus Healy
for WRITTEN ANSWER on 12/07/2017

To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning; Community and Local Government his views on a media report by a person (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Details Supplied)

Interview With Patricia King on Morning Ireland

Will he agree that “We now have a housing emergency and that the Market system has failed and is entirely dysfunctional in housing and that Local authorities should be immediately funded to build social housing with State and Local authority Lands being used to build social housing only That enough of the 200,000 voids identified in Census to solve the crisis should be taken over quite quickly, using Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) where necessary; That 3.5 billion from AIB share sale should not be used to pay down debt but to build social housing-there are over 90,000 families on housing lists; That we do have a choice , That we must tell Financial Europe-“We do need to write down the debt but you have to wait-our housing needs come first”” and Will He and his government IMPLEMENT The Actions Advocated by The ICTU General Secretary; Interview With Patricia King on Morning Ireland


This Government recognises the housing access and affordability pressures faced by many households, particularly in certain parts of the country. It is for this reason that the overarching objective of the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness is to increase the supply of new homes to 25,000 per annum by 2020 and, in particular, to boost the supply of high quality social and affordable homes, to buy or rent, as quickly as possible, in areas where demand is greatest.

With particular regard to the needs of those on the social housing waiting lists, Rebuilding Ireland set a target of delivering 47,000 social housing units through build, refurbishment, acquisition and leasing over the period to 2021, alongside an accelerated roll-out of the Housing Assistance Payment Scheme to some 80,000 households.

This activity is being supported through a significantly increased investment programme of €5.35 billion, comprising €4.5 billion in capital funding and €844 million in support of programmes funded from current expenditure. A further €226 million is provided for the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund for investment in key enabling infrastructure to open up lands for early development.

While still at an early stage of implementation, there is already strong evidence that the focus on increasing and accelerating housing supply in Rebuilding Ireland is yielding results. In terms of social housing, in 2016, the housing needs of over 19,000 households were met through a range of social housing programmes, supported by expenditure of over €935 million. A further €1.3 billion has been provided in 2017 to support the accelerated delivery of social housing and the achievement of the 2017 target to meet the housing needs of over 21,000 households.

In terms of housing more broadly, a suite of measures have been put in place to make housing construction viable at more affordable price points, including the €226m Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund; leveraging the value of State-owned lands to deliver a more affordable rental offering in Rent Pressure Zones; streamlined planning systems for housing developments; and other planning reforms to provide flexibility to deliver viable housing schemes and apartment developments in the right locations. In addition, analysis of vacant dwellings data from the Census 2016 provides strong evidence for targeted policies to maximise the number of vacant properties that can be brought back into use, especially in our cities and large towns where demand is greatest.

While we are coming from a low base, all recent key indicators show that the house-building sector is continuing to gather strength and pace. Planning permissions for 17,934 new homes were granted in the twelve-month period to end March 2017, representing a 39% increase year on year. Commencement Notices for 15,579 new homes nationwide were submitted in the twelve-month period to end May 2017, a 42% increase year on year. ESB connections for the twelve-month period to end May 2017 reached 16,340 across the country, showing a 19% increase year on year. Furthermore, the recently published RTB Rent Index shows a significant moderation in the rate of rent increases, with rents virtually flat during the first quarter of 2017.

While this is encouraging, considerable further progress is needed and we will continue to closely monitor trends in that regard. In addition, a focused review of Rebuilding Ireland is now underway, targeted for completion in September. The aim of the review is to build on the significant progress already being made, strengthen the measures in place and identify additional measures to underpin further momentum in the months and years ahead.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: