Sinn Féin spokesperson on Finance Pearse Doherty TD has criticised the Minister for Finance for ignoring the advice of his own officials to apply a stamp duty surcharge on the purchase of apartments by investment funds.
In documents released to the Donegal TD under Freedom of Information, a senior Department of Finance official warned that “by having no extra stamp duty on the bulk purchase of apartments, you potentially drive the individual home purchaser out of the market”. The Government ignored the advice of the official and excluded the purchase of apartments by investment funds from the stamp duty charge.
Speaking today, Teachta Doherty said:
“Records released to me under Freedom of Information show that senior officials within the Department of Finance warned the Minister that failing to apply a stamp duty surcharge on investment funds purchasing apartments would drive struggling home buyers out of the market.
“These are warnings subsequently made by Sinn Féin.
“The official made this warning as the Government scrambled to respond to investment funds snapping up homes and pricing struggling home buyers out of the market.
“This record shows that the Minister for Finance was aware of the consequences of excluding apartments from a stamp duty surcharge but excluded them regardless of the warnings from his officials.
“As a direct result of the Minister’s decision, home buyers will continue to be pushed out of the market by investment funds.
“It is clear that this Government has taken the side of investment funds and undermined the interests and aspirations of struggling home buyers.
“Like the Minister for Housing with his Shared Equity Loan Scheme, the decision by Minister Donohoe to ignore the advice of his own officials reveals a Government that is slow to listen to expert opinion and quick to serve the wants of property developers and investment funds.
“The public are right to ask whose side this Government are on. It is clear they are not on the side of struggling home buyers or renters.”