A Carrick-on-Suir Labour councillor has dismissed the Mortgage to Rent Scheme recently announced by a minister from his own party as “a token PR exercise”.
Outspoken South Tipperary Co. Council member Bobby Fitzgerald has criticised the structure of the scheme, announced by Minister for Housing and Planning Jan O’Sullivan, which is designed to help people unable to afford to pay their home mortgages.
He maintains that in its current form, the scheme is nothing more than a token PR exercise and says Minister O’Sullivan needs to address the real concerns of those struggling to keep a roof over hteir head and come up with meaningful scheme to help them.
“While intending in theory to support those who are struggling to pay their mortgage, the scheme in fact does nothing for most householders,” he told The Nationalist.
“It is so restrictive that only those who qualify for social and local authority housing are eligible,” he complained.
Cllr. Fitzgerald claims the scheme will apply only to 100 households, yet there are 100,000 households in mortgage arrears at present.
He says there are more than 100 households in Carrick-on-Suir alone that would seek, out of necessity, to avail of this scheme.
“They can’t hold on much longer for a meaningful solution as they are at their wits end and do not qualify under the present scheme,” he said.
The Scheme would result in the transfer of ownership of people’s homes to an approved Local Housing Body while they remain in their home paying rent.
It applies to those that would have qualified in any case for social or local authority housing.
“It does little to alleviate the majority of those struggling, who are now the new poor, having to pay mortgages, worry about finding money for soaring health cover, travel and childcare expenses.”
The proposed scheme will see 30% of the value of the house being paid by the State to the bank that holds the mortgage and therefore in Cllr. Fitzgerald’s opinion is nothing more than another bank bailout.
Cllr Fitzgerald says the fundamental flaws in the plan need to be addressed and all Banks should be obliged to sign up to the scheme with an independent assessor determining as to whether a mortgage is distressed.
He adds that keeping families in their homes should be a priority for the Labour Minister instead of giving another bailout to banks.