Individuals and couples are being excluded from applying for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan because their employment is being supported by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS), a Fine Gael Senator has said.
The Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a Government-backed mortgage for first-time buyers. It is available nationwide from all local authorities for those on modest or low incomes who cannot get sufficient funding from commercial banks to purchase a new or second-hand home.
Speaking in the Seanad, Senator John Cummins said, “It doesn’t make any sense that one hand of the state is supporting employment through the EWSS, but another arm of the state is penalising employees who are seeking mortgage approval through the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme.
“The EWSS was introduced to support an employer with their overheads at a time of unprecedent upheaval, it is not the choice of the employee whether their wages are supported by the scheme.
“There seems to be a black and white rule where if one or both individuals are in receipt of the EWSS, Local Authorities will not entertain an application under the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme. In many instances employees are working longer hours, for better pay, meaning more income is coming into the household than pre pandemic but they can’t get approval for a mortgage because their wage is being supported by the EWSS.”
Senator Cummins, Fine Gael’s Seanad Housing Spokesperson, highlighted the case of a constituent who has been impacted by the issue, saying “This man ticks all the boxes of the scheme. He has his deposit, a good savings record, two refusals from the commercial banks and an income which would comfortably support the mortgage repayments. In fact, his salary is higher than it was prior to Covid-19 because he has received a promotion and is working additional hours, but he has been refused approval because his employer is availing of the EWSS.”
Leader of Seanad Éireann Senator Regina Doherty acknowledged the action taken by the Government at the beginning of the pandemic, saying “Many of our pillar banks had such practice at the onset of Covid-19 but when it was brought to their attention by the Minister for Finance, it did cease. Therefore, it makes no sense that the state would be doing something which they stopped the banks from doing beforehand.”
Senator Cummins concluded, “Fine Gael is the party of home ownership and the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan is a crucial part of our efforts to ensure everyone can own their own home. We must ensure this disparity is urgently addressed so that eligible applicants are not blocked from the scheme due to no fault of their own.”