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Dáil Éireann debate -
Tuesday, 6 May 1969

Vol. 240 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - SDA Loans.


asked the Minister for Local Government if, in view of the raising of the upper limit of SDA loans, he will consider raising the income limit to over £1,200 or, if not, accepting a person's basic salary instead of combining basic salary and overtime as income.


asked the Minister for Local Government if he is aware that a person can get a county council supplementary grant with an income of £1,248 and still be refused an SDA loan (details supplied); and if he will take steps to remedy this anomalous situation by widening the scope of application of the SDA loans.

With your permission, a Cheann Comhairle, I propose to take Questions Nos. 43 and 44 together.

In the January-March quarter of 1969, approximately 64 per cent of persons borrowing house-purchase loans from local authorities had incomes of less than £1,050 a year. The remainder, almost without exception, had incomes not exceeding the limit of £1,200 a year. The value of applications for loans with local authorities at 31st March, 1969, was £9.4 million compared with £6.1 million at 31st March, 1968. On these figures, the existing income limits clearly do not inhibit the successful operation of the scheme, and I do not propose at present to increase them.

Local authorities may advance loans, without reference to the income limit, to tenants of local authority houses who surrender their tenancies on getting a loan and to persons whose loans are financed from sources other than the Local Loans Fund.

The determination of income for loan purposes is, by law, a matter for the local authority. Authorities generally determine income by reference to gross earnings, but I advised them by circular letter H.6/68 of 17th May, 1968, to adopt a liberal interpretation in assessing overtime, where, for example, a person has worked an unusual amount of overtime in a particular year in order to accumulate funds for the initial deposit on a house, on marriage.

Supplementary grants are outright cash payments to the recipients. House purchase loans are repayable by the borrower on terms which generally cover the full cost. Different limits for grants and loans are, therefore, not anomalous and I do not propose, at present, to widen the loan scheme in the way the Deputy suggests.

Can the Minister say, where the overtime is one-third of the income, is that excessive? These people cannot get a loan elsewhere because they are in a rural area and their income is £900 and their overtime £340.

That is a case which could have been dealt with more liberally.