Billions of euros for the housing market did not yield additional houses, according to the Court of Auditors

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The €1 billion the cabinet has released for the housing market over the past two years has not guaranteed faster and more affordable homes to be built. This was revealed on Thursday by an investigation by the Court of Auditors.

“Housing is an important social issue, but we wonder if the money is well spent,” said Vice President Ewout Irrgang of the Court of Auditors. “There is additional budget available to build faster and more, but we doubt that this injection has had an effect. It is in any case not clear if more houses have been built with this additional budget.

Former interior minister Kajsa Ollongren said nearly 140,000 homes have been added thanks to the incentive. It has not sufficiently substantiated this assertion, writes the Court of Auditors in the report Approach to housing shortage

The so-called incentive for housing construction was one of the most important measures taken by the Rutte III cabinet to combat the growing housing shortage. Over the past two years, 93 construction projects proposed by municipalities have been approved for the government grant.

“Results obtained by the firm insufficiently substantiated”

In the end, 855 million euros were paid to the municipalities. “The results that the government has obtained with the billion euros until the end of 2021 are not sufficiently substantiated. The information that the municipalities report to the minister is not reliable enough to infer the effects of the device,” Irrgang said.

For example, when building houses faster, the possible displacement was not taken into account: other housing projects do not receive a government subsidy and can therefore be carried out later or not, partly in due to the shortage of construction workers, materials and civil servants.

According to the Court of Auditors, there is a real risk that the central government has contributed via the Woningbouwimpuls to projects which would have been carried out without additional central government funding. Concrete figures are not yet available, as all projects have yet to be delivered.

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