Written Answers. - Urban Renewal Schemes.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

416 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government his views on whether the town renewal scheme 2000 has been a disappointment, with poor uptake; and if he will take steps to either extend or replace the scheme with a wider remit. [11070/03]

The town renewal scheme which commenced in 100 smaller towns in 2000 has been extended by a further year to 31 December 2004. While progress on the scheme has been slower than anticipated there is now significant activity in the various towns designated. Statistical returns submitted by county councils showing the position at 31 December 2002 indicate that the total value of projects completed is €25 million and work in progress €30 million, with projects in planning valued at €75 million, giving an overall investment figure to date of some €130 million.

It would be reasonable to estimate that this overall investment figure will rise even further as the scheme progresses. The further extension of the scheme together with the greater availability of section 23 residential investor reliefs introduced in the Finance Act, 2002 have given additional impetus to the scheme. With the enhanced incentives available and a pro-active approach by county councils to implementing and promoting the scheme, I am confident that significant progress can be achieved within the period of the scheme. My Department will continue to monitor the situation. I have no proposal to amend the scheme.