Reports Debunk Myths on Housing Costs, Confirm Need for Greater State Role

12 Apr 2018

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The Construction Industry Committee of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (CIC) has said that the publication of three new reports on housing “served to debunk the myths that construction labour costs are a factor in the crisis and confirm the need for the government and local authorities to play a more urgent and active role in the provision of affordable housing.”

Responding to the publication of the reports by the Department of Housing, Planning & Local Government, the chair of the Congress CIC, Billy Wall said: “The reports looked at construction labour costs in Ireland and found them to be in line with comparable EU countries, proving they are not a factor in this crisis.  

“Construction unions also agree with the finding that there should be no VAT rate cut for industry as this would not translate into lower house prices, but simply lead to increased land prices.

“The reports do highlight the very real shortage of skills in the sector and construction unions believe this must be tackled with greater urgency, by focusing on developing apprenticeships and giving young workers real opportunities to learn their skills. This must encompass employment of properly trained and qualified craftspeople to oversee the apprenticeships,” Mr Wall said.

“Overall, the reports serve to confirm the long held view of Congress and construction unions that the state must take a greater, more proactive role in the building and provision of affordable public housing. We note that the reports call for greater use of state land, in this context.

“We have a housing and homeless emergency and government must begin to treat it as such and act accordingly,” Mr Wall said.

Congress is currently engaged in a national lobby of TDs, urging their support for the Congress Charter for Housing Rights, which represents the agreed trade union position on the housing and homeless crisis.