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More focus on action rather than grants would transform dereliction problem

16 November 2023

Labour leader and housing spokesperson Ivana Bacik said it’s time for Government to confront the issue of vacancy and dereliction head on.

Deputy Bacik said:

“Anecdotally we know the scale of vacancy and dereliction in all our communities, but this Government is failing to collect data from local authorities at a local level.

“How can we test the impact of the variety of Government grants available to tackle this massive issue if we don’t know what we’re measuring it against?

“There’s no strategy from Government on this. Local authorities are the linchpin when it comes to housing but they are underfunded, under resourced and lacking the teeth needed to bring empty homes back into use.

“Instead of focusing on grants that are unaffordable for most people, what we need to see is a reform of local authorities powers, to include the power to act decisively and compulsory purchase homes that are lying idle to bring them back into the community.

“Streamlining the compulsory purchase powers would be transformative to tackle vacancy and get people into homes.

“We need to see greater action from this Government on empowering local authorities, on funding them properly and having boots on the ground in our communities to tackle this crisis of our times.”