Budget 2024 Must Deliver on Social Housing

Posted on Wednesday, 12 July 2023
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Ireland’s social housing supply is less than 9 per cent of our overall housing stock. According to Housing Europe, this is at odds with many of our European counterparts (Housing Europe, 2021). Social Justice Ireland proposes that Government set a target that 20 per cent of all housing stock be social housing by 2030. This would equate to an additional 232,800 social housing units to be delivered in the next eight years, starting with an increase of €1.4bn in capital expenditure in Budget 2024. Housing for All commits to just 90,000 but lacks clarity over how 42,500 of those could be delivered within the plan. The current need, based only on the social housing waiting lists, HAP tenancies, RAS tenancies and households in receipt of Rent Supplement is over 157,000. This does not account for households leaving Direct Provision; new households fleeing war; households in refuges for Domestic Abuse; the majority of the homeless as currently counted; or all of the homeless not currently counted within official data (as would be counted under an ETHOS typology proposed by FEANSTA). It also does not take account of future demand, averaging 27,500 per year.


A Real Rent Relief

According to the most recent preliminary PAYE Statistics (2023 Q1), it is clear that the impact of the Rent Tax Credit introduced in Budget 2023 has been unevenly distributed across the income distribution. For those with gross earnings of €0 -10,000, the Average Claim amount was €474, while the Average Benefit Received was just €1. For employees earning between €20,000 and €30,000, the Average Benefit Received was closer to the full amount at €458. While tax units earning €200,000+ received an Average Benefit of just over €800. On the basis of the distribution of receipts alone, it is clear that the Rent Tax Credit is inherently unfair. However, there are other anomalies in the system such as the capacity for a double payment of the Rent Tax Credit for those who are privately renting two homes (once the second home meets certain conditions). Social Justice Ireland is calling on Government to restructure the Rent Tax Credit to Renters’ Grant in Budget 2024, at a cost of €79m for the full year.

Support for Long Term Mortgage Arrears

The impact of the 2008 recession continues to be keenly felt by borrowers who have struggled to regain control of their mortgages payments since. As of March 2023, 4,828 mortgages are in arrears for more than 10 years, with arrears of €853m. While changes to the Mortgage to Rent scheme were very welcome, it will not provide a solution for everyone in long-term arrears and alternatives must be considered. Social Justice Ireland has previously proposed an equity scheme for borrowers in long-term arrears, similar to the mechanism in place for the First Home Scheme, starting with a pilot of €100m in Budget 2024.

Budget Choices 2024 is available to download here.