This morning it is being reported that the Cabinet could not agree the summer economic statement yesterday, due to disagreements in government about funding for housing in advance of budget 2022. While this is very alarming news to those of us who want to see a massive increase in the construction of family homes, it is not surprising given the track record of the Government over ten years, including Fianna Fáil's track record in propping up Fine Gael under the so-called confidence-and-supply deal, during which Fianna Fáil claimed it had secured a housing budget year after year. It did not. What it did was acquiesce to Fine Gael housing policy at every turn and it is still at it; continuing with Fine Gael's failed models of housing delivery, including long-term leasing, which represents nothing but bad value for the taxpayer.
In May, it was reported that there was another disagreement at Cabinet. On that occasion, the Fine Gael leader, Deputy Varadkar, pushed back when the Taoiseach suggested the Government should make housing its number one priority. Now, it seems that his Fine Gael colleague, the Minister for Finance, Deputy Donohoe, is not content with signing off on an increase in the funding to be allocated for housing. This is incredible. The level of current funding is woefully inadequate. Anyone with an ounce of wit or any sense of the depths of the housing crisis knows that. The Taoiseach should not just take my word for it. Last month, the Economic and Social Research Institute, ESRI, called on the Government to double capital investment in public housing; to provide €4 billion annually to deliver 18,000 public houses and homes that workers and families can afford on public land. We in Sinn Féin have been telling the Government this for years. That is the scale of what is required to tackle the crisis.
When in opposition, Fianna Fáil signed up to the 2018 Dáil motion from the Raise the Roof campaign. Does the Taoiseach remember that? The motion also called for a doubling of investment in public housing. During the general election in 2020 Fianna Fáil campaigned on a commitment to deliver 20,000 social and affordable homes every year for five years but once it joined Fine Gael in government, it very quickly abandoned those promises and once again fell under the shadow of Fine Gael's failed housing policies.
Budget 2021 saw the same inadequate level of investment in social and affordable housing as all of the budgets before it. This year, things must change. The Government must finally listen to the advice of Sinn Féin, the ESRI and more recently the National Treasury Management Agency, NTMA, and the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland. The number of voices calling on the Government to do the right thing in housing grows ever wider and louder. My question is simple. Will the Taoiseach now commit to doubling capital investment in social and affordable homes to deliver at least 20,000 homes that workers and families desperately need and rightly deserve? Could he confirm that this will form part of the summer economic statement or is it a fact that his partners in government are pushing this back and preventing it from happening?