Urgent need for Government intervention in housing market – IMPACT

IMPACT’s general secretary Shay Cody has told delegates at the MacGill Summer School this evening (Wednesday) that there is an urgent need for Government intervention in the housing market.  Mr Cody said that the housing rent increases in the Dublin area are averaging 20 to 30 per cent and that most working people cannot afford to keep pace with these increases.

Speaking on the theme of internal and external threats to the Irish economy, Mr Cody said these sharp rental increases would inevitably seep into wage bargaining, as it did in the period 2002-2008. “There is an urgent need for Government intervention in the housing market.  Private tenants must be given security – up to five year lease, up-rated by the Consumer Price Index (CPI)” he said.

Emphasising the need for policies to address the housing shortage and escalating housing and rental costs, Mr Cody said that the National Economic and Social Council’s (NESC) ambitious plan for an off-balance sheet social housing programme was also a necessity.

Wage policy forum

Mr Cody said another threat to economic wellbeing is the absence of a national wage policy, and a forum for wage policy discussion. “Despite the terrible mistakes made by the Troika and the Government, we are now seeing the first indications of recovery translating into the beginnings of pay movement in parts of the private sector. This is happening company by company.

“It is too early to consider any national agreement but we will eventually need a national framework for productivity and wage movement in the environment of a single currency and global competition” he said.  He added that while there are some pockets of political resistance, to the idea of a national framework, he expected these to be overcome “hopefully before it is too late.”

Debt sustainability

Mr Cody said it remains obvious that the public finances are still fragile with threats to debt sustainability. He referred to recent comments, by the President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz, about the ideologically driven errors of the European Commission and ECB and how it was the Irish people that saved the European banking system.

“These debts should not be ours. They are an unfair burden on our people and the absolute priority of our Government should be to continue to redress the burden that less than five million Irish people shouldered 42% of the cost of the European banking crisis.

“This should not be allowed to become a lower priority for Government or, worse still, to fall off the agenda altogether. We are aware the economy is beginning to pick up to some extent. However, the discipline of being in the euro will place continuing pressure on public finances with direct implications for those who rely on the public purse, either as workers or citizens. A modest recovery in our domestic economy will not overcome the monster of this unjust debt. As a country we must use every opportunity internationally to pursue this end” he said.

The MacGill Summer School is taking place in Glenties, County Donegal.

The full text of Shay Cody’s speech is available to download HERE.