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Taoiseach denies budget ‘did nothing' for renters

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said 65,000 tenants will benefit from the additional Housing Assistance Payment tenancies

The Taoiseach has rejected accusations that the budget “did nothing” to alleviate the pressures facing renters.

Micheál Martin claimed the budget deals with thousands of people who rent, pointing to tax relief and support announced this week.

He said 65,000 tenants will benefit from the additional Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) tenancies, 17,000 under the Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS) and 20,000 through rent supplements.

Mr Martin told the Dáil that about €600 million has been provided to support these renters.

Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald criticised the government for failing to introduce a ban on rent increases.

“You announced a budget yesterday that did nothing for renters,” Ms McDonald said.

“Not a single measure in budget 2022 will alleviate the financial pressures faced by renters.

“No move to cut rents, no move to ban rent increases, no measures to improve standards or security of tenure.

“While this budget does nothing for struggling renters, it made damn sure that big landlords still get their income because the only private rental sector measure in your budget is an extension of a tax break for landlords.

“Why has your government refused to show up for renters, people who are facing extortionate rents.

“When will you cut rents, ban rent increases and provide tenants and renters with the security and the affordability that they so desperately need and they so rightly deserve.”

Mr Martin said that 1.8 million working families will benefit from the indexation of income tax bands and credits, which also includes renters.

“It is is giving a modest relief to people who are renting and who are paying tax in that regard, and also for remote workers there is further tax relief,” Mr Martin added.

It was confirmed that remote workers can benefit from a 30% income tax reduction to cover the cost of domestic bills, including broadband, heat and electricity costs.

Mr Martin said that through the Housing For All plan, some 1,500 homes will be made available through the cost rental model.

However, Ms McDonald said that people who face rents of more than 1,300 euro a month have been left “high and dry”.

The Dublin TD also repeated her calls for the Government to introduce a three-year rent freeze.

Mr Martin said Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, will, in the next few weeks, bring in a cap to keep pressure on rents below the level of inflation.

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