Landlords will be the sole beneficiaries of a €55m bonanza in additional rent supplement, it has been claimed.
This year, the Government will spend an additional €20m, and €55m in a full year, on rent supplement, because of an agreement between Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil to increase payments by 15%. The deal was done, during the talks to form the Government, a number of weeks back.
Calls to increase rent-supplement payments have escalated, as the housing crisis has bitten hard in the past 18 months. The previous, Fine Gael-Labour government had been reluctant to increase rent supplement to address the housing crisis, and new internal documents from the Department of Social Protection have raised alarm at the agreed increase.
According to the documents, the additional spend will, at best, deliver an additional 150 units, including just one three-bed family home in the Dublin area.
The department is extremely caustic about the additional spend, saying it represents a “disporportionate cost” to the exchequer and the taxpayer.
Mr Humphreys said: “Fine Gael have agreed with Fianna Fáil to increase the rent supplement by 15%, but how many additional units will that deliver? Barely none.
“To raise the rent supplement, and Fine Gael have accepted it will not create one extra single unit, it will cost €55.5m of taxpayers’ money. How does that make any sense?”
Fine Gael TD for Kildare North, Benard Durkin, conceded that the additional spend would not improve the delivery of homes.
“Not one is the answer. Increasing rent supplement is not going to deliver one additional unit,” he said. “Not one extra house will it deliver. It is merely bringing up the income of whoever is renting the house to an acceptable market level.
And it has emerged that the taxpayer will pay €46m this year to house homeless families in hotels, which the new housing minister, Simon Coveney, says is “unacceptable”.