We are all aware of the serious situation developing in this area. In examining the various local authority house building programmes in the greater Dublin area over the past 20 or 30 years, one recognises the achievement of the provision of substantial numbers of houses, flats, etc., and also the difficulties which arose from having provided houses in such large numbers. Such volumes of housing was provided because there was a necessity to clear the overcrowded slums in the centre of Dublin. Previous Governments built Drimnagh, Kimmage, Crumlin, Cabra and Ballyfermot. It was then felt there was too great an intensity of local authority housing in specific areas which brought with it certain social problems.
The next phase of addressing the housing crisis was the construction of Ballymun and the development of new satellite towns, two of which I have had the responsibility of representing since first being elected to the House in the late 1970s. Three of these satellite towns were Clondalkin, Lucan and Blanchardstown. In another, Tallaght, it was intended to accommodate 100,000 people, a substantial percentage of whom was to be housed in local authority accommodation.
We repeatedly address the problems which arise from having provided substantial and large numbers of local authority houses, especially social problems. North Clondalkin was the first ever area which needed a report from a task force on urban crime. We do not want to repeat past mistakes and thus do not provide such large volumes of local authority housing. As a result, in the area about which I am concerned, the Eastern Health Board enters the equation. It gives subsidies to people renting accommodation and who are on the local authority housing list.
The market driven cost of rents is soaring and persons or families on low or fixed incomes, such as welfare recipients, are finding it impossible to secure suitable accommodation. Accommodation within their means tends to be of poor quality and of insecure tenure. This inability to find accommodation leads to overcrowding in local authority dwellings where young people cannot afford to move out of the family home.
The Eastern Health Board provides rental subsidies but rapidly rising market costs in the private sector mean the subsidies increasingly lag behind. Indicative of these rental costs would be the Eastern Health Board Area 1 where market costs run from £550 to £600 per month and the subsidy runs at £350 to £400 per month. Area 2 has market costs from £450 to £500 and the subsidy is £300 to £380 per month. The subsidies cited are the maximum available and they vary from area to area. The subsidy system is tied into area rental costs and not to family needs and there is an increasing use of bed and breakfasts and hostel accommodation which is very unsatisfactory, particularly for mothers with young children. Annual outgoings are of the order of £100 million per annum of which the Eastern Health Board caters for about £40 million and about 16,500 cases. The public housing list is running nationally at about 31,000 and it is about 10,000 in Dublin.
While the Celtic tiger and all that goes with it is laudable and progressive, we will probably be judged at the end of this Government's term on our response to social needs and requirements. I hope we will be in a position to address it under a number of headings. There is no doubt the recent Bacon report was an attempt to address a specific aspect of the housing problem but not this one. The general reaction was that the recommendations of the report would mean growing problems in the rental sector. It is a problem I encounter every weekend at advice centres and I sincerely hope the Minister can address the issue and decide how to tackle this growing social problem.