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The Government welcomes the publication of NESC’s report 138



In Construction 2020 the Government commits to developing a comprehensive strategy for social housing during Q3 of2014.  This NESC report is an important input into that strategy.

This timely report provides an informative analysis to the discourse on the future shape of Irish social housing policy. It describes the three main channels of current provision —local authorities, housing associations and the private rental sector— and the problems these channels are facing, such as lack of supply due to borrowing constraints, increasing rents and limited availability of secure, affordable, long-term tenancy. To confront these challenges the Council argue that policy must develop new approaches on three related fronts.  

First, financial mechanisms are needed which are capable of funding the quantity and quality of housing required. The report discusses how this could be achieved without adding to the Government debt.  

Second, policies are required to make renting more affordable and attractive which improves the overall stability of the housing sector.  The report considers how this can be achieved. It describes the practice of cost rental, common in many European countries, and the importance of regulation. It also provides practical examples that show how cost rental could be applied in Ireland.  

Third, the report argues that there needs to be more direct public policy influence on housing supply and urban development.  The Council argues that if housing provision is no longer to be developer-led, it will have to be led by some other identifiable actor or actors.  

Finally, to support the work in each of these areas— finance, rental policy and supply— the Council argue that new institutional arrangements will be required to ensure that the elements are worked on in a coherent and mutually-reinforcing way.  

(The Report is available on www.nesc.ie)