Varadkar feels “no shame” over HAP top-up scandal and the housing crisis faced by the working poor.
In a statement in the Dail this afternoon, Richard Boyd Barrett said, that it is the government’s Housing Policy that is a major factor in driving people into poverty.
Responding to the recent Social Justice Ireland report, which shows that over 300,000 children and young people are living below the poverty line, the People Before Profit deputy said, it was a “shocking indictment of the Fine Gael Ireland of the 21st century”.
In Dublin the cost of a home is now 9 times the average salary and the average rent for a 3 bed home is over €3400, it is clear that the government’s housing policy is a major contributor to the poverty levels shown by the Social Justice Ireland report.
The cost of rent means that 1 in 10 workers are paying more than 60% of their income on rent. Many of these are ineligible for social housing and therefore receive no income supports at all.
The other cohort of people who are pushed into poverty by government housing policy are those in HAP tenancies who are paying a “top up” to the landlord. The HAP limit for a 3 bed house in Dublin is €1300, and according to a recent Threshold report, just under 50% of HAP tenants are paying “top-ups” in order to secure a tenancy.
Richard Boyd Barrett said: “The shocking figures of poverty revealed by the Social Justice Ireland report should make the Taoiseach deeply ashamed. Yet when I questioned him on this today, he was more interested in a jesuitical discussion on “what is poverty?” then he was in answering my questions.
“Clearly Leo Varadkar feels no shame whatsoever when it comes to the direct impact of his housing policy pushing 300,000 children and young people into poverty.”
“I asked him to tackle this situation by a) raising the income eligibility criteria for social housing and by b) phasing out the failed HAP policy and in the meantime guaranteeing that no HAP tenant would be worse off than someone in a council tenancy. The Taoiseach failed to answer any of my questions.”