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23-10-2018, 23:42   #1
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132,000 houses built by the state between 1932 and 1942: who financed it?

In the social sphere, the Housing Act of 1932 provided assistance for house-building, and 132,000 houses were built in the next decade (Páraic Travers, Éamon de Valera, p. 29)
The housing drive resulted in the construction or renovation of 132,000 houses between 1932 and 1942, the highest level in many decades. (JJ Lee & Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, The age of de Valera, p. 138)
Most importantly, does anybody know how de Valera's government got the finance to build or provide assistance to build this enormous number of houses at that time when the Economic War with Britain was ongoing? America? Selling Prize Bonds or some sort of other financing from Irish citizens? Was there a massive budget deficit to pay it?

How many were entirely state funded, and state built? Or were even the state-financed ones actually built by the private sector? Were loads of builders and tradespeople at the time direct employees of the state?
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24-10-2018, 04:11   #2
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Public housing construction was undertaken by local authorities. Most of the work was done by contracting out to private builders, and over time this came to be seen as a patronage system, with political connections determining who would get contracts. The long-standing close links between Fianna Fail and the building industry date from this time.

During this period the majority of house construction in the state was public housing construction, so these contracts where hugely important to building contractors. Notwithstanding the corruption inherent in a patronage system, this did mean that local authorities were not entirely powerless to drive prices down and keep standards up. You couldn't be assured of a public contract just because you were a Fianna Fail-allied builder, since you were competing with other Fianna Fail-allied builders.

As for financing, local governments borrowed to finance the construction. The interest on the borrowings was subsidised each year by the central government - generally the Dept of Finance paid about two-thirds of a local government's annual interest costs on loans for public housing. The balance of the loan costs (interest plus repayment) was supposed to be covered (and I think generally was covered) by the rents paid by the tenants of local housing.
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24-10-2018, 14:14   #3
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We had a thread that touched on it HERE a couple of years ago
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24-10-2018, 20:21   #4
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There was an element of build for sale (and profit) as part of council schemes until the 1960s which aided in funding the council-rental element also. My mother's parents first house was a - now clearly not plausible to do - civil servant only deal of purchasing a discounted, but still profitable, new build from DCC in Walkinstown, I think in the 1940s. The bulk of the road was DCC terraces with the semi-Ds sold immediately.

I am not aware of this happening at any time since and indeed the last two large spurts of social house building (as opposed to Part V buying) that I'm aware of happened under Labour ministers in the 70s and early 90s who would have been against the very idea in the first place; despite it being of benefit in multiple ways.
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