Written Answers. - Student Accommodation.

Olwyn Enright

Question:

43 Ms Enright asked the Minister for Education and Science the way in which he intends to ensure adequate provision of student accommodation at third level institutions. [21722/02]

My Department does not provide direct financial assistance for the provision of student accommodation.

In recognition of the difficulties students can experience in obtaining accommodation and following consultation with third level colleges, a special tax incentive was introduced to encourage the provision of dedicated student residential accommodation in section 50 of the Finance Act, 1999.

In the Finance Act, 2002, the qualifying period of the scheme was extended to 30 September 2005 where an application for planning permission is received by a planning authority by 30 September 2003. Therefore, the opportunity exists to create significant additional accommodation for third level students.

A rent a room relief scheme was introduced in the Finance Act, 2001. It allows homeowners rent out a room in their homes and have rental income up to €7,620 a year tax free. The scheme encourages householders to rent rooms to students.