Recommendation on vacant homes tax could help transform town centres across Ireland
The Green Party today delivered on a key manifesto and Programme for Government commitment with the publication of the report of the Commission on Tax and Welfare.
One of the key recommendations in the report is a new charge on vacant properties. The report also supports the Green Party’s long-standing policy by recommending the replacement of commercial rates with a Site Value Tax. This measure would help to bring life back to our towns and cities by spurring new development on under-used urban land.
Wicklow TD and Green Party Spokesperson on Planning Steven Matthew, published a bill on vacancy, earlier this year, which seeks to bring approximately 50,000 vacant homes back into use.
Speaking on the publication of the report, Deputy Matthews stated;
“We have a housing crisis and these recommendations would encourage the reuse of vacant and derelict buildings to provide much needed homes. Across our towns and cities there are many thousands of buildings that are suitable for conversion and refurbishment for homes for families and individuals. Bringing life back to town centres is key a Green Party policy. This is good for local business and for the viability of public transport and other public services.”
The Commission’s Report recommends a number of progressive changes to our tax and welfare system to secure our public finances, promote the decarbonisation and modernisation of our economy and protect the most vulnerable in our society into the future.
One of the most important recommendations is the establishment of a new ‘working-age assistance payment’, to provide greater support to low and middle-income workers who are currently struggling with increases in the cost of living. The report also recommends the phasing out of fossil fuel tax subsidies and a continuation of the Government’s planned increases to the carbon tax.
Welcoming these measures, Party Spokesperson on Social Protection and TD for Waterford Marc Ó Cathasaigh said;
"The Commission proposes the introduction of a working-age assistance payment, recognising the need to develop a system of social welfare supports that helps not only those who are unable to work, but also those households whose wages are insufficient to meet their basic needs. Many families are currently struggling with the impacts of the fossil fuel crisis, high rents, rising mortgage repayments and elevated childcare costs. It is essential that we work as a Government to minimise financial stress for households and families regardless of their employment status."
A key recommendation to support businesses is to improve access to Research and Development tax credits and reliefs for small businesses and new, innovative start-ups.
Senator Róisín Garvey, party Spokesperson for Enterprise, said the recommendation would offer a welcome boost to smaller enterprises;
“There is a need to re-balance our economy, which is currently overly-reliant on large multinational corporations. The best way to do this is to support our own innovative, home-grown businesses. The Commission's recommendations which seek to improve access to Research and Development tax credit would go a significant way towards helping this process.”
The Green Party believes the Government should establish a working group after the Budget that would study the Commission’s recommendations and examine which of them could be progressed.
We have a housing crisis and these recommendations would encourage the reuse of vacant and derelict buildings to provide much needed homes. Across our towns and cities there are many thousands of buildings that are suitable for conversion and refurbishment for homes for families and individuals.