Sunday, September 10, 2006

Social and Affordable Housing

In a letter to the Irish Times last Friday, Ciaran Cuffe, Green Party Housing Spokesperson, details party housing strategy, presumably only one of many political pamphlets which will festoon the letters page between now and the next general election.

The key elements are

  • Implement Kenny Report recommendation that the state can purchase lands at 25% above their agricultural value (Think what we’d be saving on McDowell’s new prison in Meath!).
  • Implement the 20% rule for social and affordable housing.
  • Remove all property-based tax reliefs.
  • Abolish stamp duty for older people trading down.

Incidentally, his letter is almost a straight lift from his August 2006 Constituency newsletter recently popped through my letter-box, a fine example of Green Party recycling policy in action.

On a serious note, I'd like to add a suggestion to those outlined above: that the 20% Capital Gains Tax levied on profits generated through the sale of development land should be ring-fenced and applied only to the provision of social and affordable housing.

At least in that way the speculators could be seen to make some contribution to the resolution of a problem they are at least partly responsible for creating.

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