Bank bailout repayments should be used to fund Emergency Housing Investment Programme

unite-white-out-of-redProposal included in Unite’s ‘economic manifesto’ published ahead of General Election

January 31st: Trade union Unite has suggested that the anticipated €4 billion in bank bailout repayments due this year should be used to fund an Emergency Housing Investment Programme.  The proposal is included in the union’s ‘economic manifesto’, Towards a Democratic Recovery for All, published ahead of the forthcoming General Election.

Explaining the background to the proposal, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly said today (Sunday January 31st):

“In 2008, there were 48,000 on the housing waiting lists.  Today, it is estimated that there are 130,000.  Rents are spiralling to the point where, in Dublin, they make up 40 per cent of the Living Wage.  At the same time, hundreds of acres lie derelict or vacant as local government has no resources to build, while private owners are waiting for prices to rise.

“By any standards we are facing a housing emergency.  That is why Unite is proposing an Emergency Housing Investment Programme funded from the anticipated €4 billion in bank bailout repayments due this year.  This should be used to eliminate homelessness, provide housing for people on the waiting list and roll out affordable rental accommodation for low-paid workers. While this would have to be negotiated with the EU Commission, as a once-off investment programme it would have no impact on the structural deficit.

“This is just one of the proposals in Unite’s ‘economic manifesto’, Towards a Democratic Recovery for All.

“With the General Election likely to be called this week, voters are already being bombarded with promises to cut taxes and increase spending, despite the fact that tax cuts actually reduce the scope for spending increases.  But what we are not hearing is a debate about the kind of recovery needed to lay the foundations for a shared and sustainable prosperity.

“The proposals published by Unite are intended to inform a debate which is focused not just on the next election, but on the years to come”, Jimmy Kelly concluded.

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