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Developers ‘gorge themselves on the carcass of public funds’, says PBP rep

Angus McDonald, Construction
Angus McDonald has spoken out about the provision of social housing.

A People Before Profit area representative has hit out at private developers who he says “gorge on the carcass of public funds” in providing ‘turnkey’ social housing projects for local councils.

Angus MacDonald, who ran in the Drogheda Urban electoral area in the 2019 Local Elections when he garnered just 101 votes in total to narrowly beat the UnitedPeople and Direct Democray Ireland candidates, said that the government’s reliance on the private sector to provide social housing was facilitating “profiteering”.

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Referencing an editorial published in Thursday’s edition of The Irish Times newspaper which referenced Department of Housing statistics, MacDonald said the average cost of these acquisitions nationwide was €350,000- €400,000 per unit – nearly double the cost of the social housing units developed directly by councils.

“For some time now we have stated that the over reliance on the private sector for the provision of housing is nothing more than the state sanction facilitation of profiteering through the provision of housing and other vital infrastructure.” he said.

“In the years ahead, the cost of Covid will once again push the establishment parties to foist austerity on us and in doing so will claim that it’s financially prudent. But how can they claim this when turning a blind eye to the manipulation of production to enhance profitability?”

The Aston Village based PBP candidate said that developers were “leeches” who are manipulating the system to profit from the provision of social housing, with figures showing vast differences in the cost between publicly and privately developed housing.

“The truth is that for decades, consecutive governments facilitated the private sector by closing down the public sector. This led to the manipulation of the housing market and price gouging on sales and rents. It is also a driving force in the decline of pay and conditions for those working in the sector.

“The Irish Times article states that council control over the tendering process could halve the costs, but also gives the impression that the tendering process would be retained. Surely then costs could be cut further if we moved to direct employment by the council’s and the creation of a public sector with direct employment.

WHAT IS A TURNKEY ACQUISITION

Click below for an explainer.

He continued: “This would have the effect of tempering the greed of developers, vultures and other leeches that have gorged themselves on the carcass of public funds. By providing a stabilising hand to direct the provision of housing and the creation of a fit for purpose public sector in construction, we can combat the influence of the profiteers and the manipulation of prices.

“None of this is rocket science, but sadly we live in a time when governance is beholden to big businesses and those who lobby on their behalf. Until we the people are prepared to force the change required, we can expect no change in policy and therefore, nothing will change.”

According to a recent report by the Society for Chartered Surveyors, the delivery cost of a new three-bed, semi-detached home in Dublin at €371,311, if delivered via private developers. However, the survey estimated that the same type of build developed directly by a local authority would cost between €210,000 and €230,000.

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