Eoin Ó BroinQuestion:
37. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the social housing quarter 3 output report for 2020 will be published; and the status of the quarter 3 output. [38310/20]
Vol. 1001 No. 3
37. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage when the social housing quarter 3 output report for 2020 will be published; and the status of the quarter 3 output. [38310/20]
Will the Minister indicate when he intends to publish the quarter 3 social housing pipeline output report? Will he also share any information he has on the level of recovery in commencements and completions since the second quarter report earlier this year?
I thank the Deputy for his question. Increasing the supply of housing, particularly social and affordable housing, is a priority for me and for the Government. The programme for Government contains a commitment in respect of increasing the social housing stock by more than 50,000 units, with an emphasis on new builds. I will elaborate on that presently. In budget 2021, we backed this objective with funding of €3.3 billion for the delivery of housing.
This is the largest budget allocation for housing in the history of the State. This investment will ensure that the housing needs of over 28,500 households are met. The available funding will deliver 12,750 new social homes through build, acquisition and leasing. However, a major focus of this investment relates to the delivery of new-build homes, with an overall target of 9,500 such homes. Increased build targets will see increased local authority construction activity on local authority land. That is what the Government wants to see.
My Department publishes comprehensive programme level statistics on social housing delivery activity. These quarterly figures are published on the statistics page of the Department's website. In addition to the statistical overview of activity in each local authority area, a detailed social housing construction status report is published which provides scheme level detail on new-build activity. The most recent publication covers the period to the end of quarter 2 of this year. The reports have been delayed due to Covid-19 as we prioritised the response on homelessness and housing delivery. However, we are currently collating this information. The statistical returns for the construction status report for quarter 3 will be completed in the coming week, certainly well in advance of the end of the year. I have asked for that to be expedited. There has been some pick-up in activity in the quarter 3. When the Deputy has finished, I will update him on that.
No one in the Opposition thought output would not be dramatically affected, if somewhat temporarily, by the impact of Covid-19 on construction. Many of us were surprised at the size of the impact. The Minister will know, from the quarter 2 report, that only 9% of new builds had been delivered on track and that figure increases to 12% when one adds new builds and acquisitions. I do not cite those figures to criticise the Department because, in fairness, it was quick to ensure social housing construction sites opened before private sites. I also acknowledge that the Minister secured social housing as a priority infrastructure in the second round.
There is a concern that Covid-19 is not the only reason for the slowdown this year. We have been hearing from elected members in a number of urban councils that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's value-for-money exercise for projects above €20 million is also having a negative impact. That is not the Minister's Department but my concern is that, notwithstanding Covid, we would have been behind at any rate. Can the Minister give us any information on where we are with the recovery? In particular, will he address the concern expressed about the value-for-money exercise?
The Deputy makes a fair point. We are all aware of the reason delivery stood at only 9% at the end of quarter 2. I was criticised by the Deputy in that regard but that is fair enough. A housing delivery task force comprised of all the stakeholders - the housing delivery co-ordination office, local authorities and approved housing bodies - meets regularly and I will have the report in the next couple of weeks.
I am focusing on quarter 4 completions. Given the target of delivering more than 11,000 completions, it is important that we do not fall further behind. For this reason, the Government agreed with my request to keep construction and all ancillary services open during the current level 5 restrictions. We should reach or exceed 70% of the target by the end of the year. As the Deputy will be aware, there is a big push in quarter 4 and that is what I am looking at currently.
The Minister should not always assume that my comments on an issue amount to criticism.
The Deputy criticised me.
No. As I said, this is one occasion where I was not criticising.
It is fine.
If we reach 70% of the target, it would be very good and I would welcome that. However, I am concerned that Covid is not solely responsible for the lag and the value-for-money exercise is also responsible. I ask the Minister to examine that issue with the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform. Will he add the 30% that may not be delivered this year to the 2021 target to ensure the net position by the end of 2021 will be the same as it would otherwise have been under the Rebuilding Ireland targets?
I am projecting that we will reach approximately 70% of the target but it could be higher. I am giving the Deputy the information to the best of my knowledge. Obviously, a large number of people are doing intense work to ensure we catch up. I visited a number of the sites in question. Yesterday, for example, I was on the site on the Enniskerry Road in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown which shut down, even though it was a public site, and it took ten weeks to get it up and running to full capacity. We should remember that a productivity on a number of those sites decreased before the official shutdown in March because people were moving off site.
I will make an assessment of the housing completion figures when we get to the end of the year. We have set a very exacting target for next year of 12,750 completions, of which 9,500 will be new builds. Leasing will form part of that, as will a move away from acquisition. Allowing for only 800 acquisitions next year, we need that flexibility for different types of housing, such as adapted housing and larger houses.
I will report progress to the Joint Committee on Housing, Local Government and Heritage and to Deputies in the House. We are projecting completions to exceed 70% of the target for the year. We will assess housing completions by the end of the year and see how we are doing.
38. Deputy Aodhán Ó Ríordáin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the terms of reference for the departmental review on shared living and co-living established following his appointment; the membership of the committee; the number of meetings that have taken place; the persons and organisations that were consulted during the course of the review; if he will report on the interim recommendations in the report as contained in a newspaper (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [36465/20]
I have submitted this question on behalf of my colleague, Senator Rebecca Moynihan, who is the Labour Party spokesperson on housing. The Minister will be aware that the issue of co-living has been raised regularly in these Houses. We spoke on a motion on this issue recently. We very much welcome the statement on co-living the Minister reportedly made yesterday. Perhaps he is in a position to outline his stance and what effect it will have.
I thank Deputy Ó Ríordáin. I am pleased to be given the opportunity to make an official statement to the House.
I have been clear in previous debates in my intention to review the provisions on shared accommodation or, as it is more widely known, "co-living", as set out in section 5.0 of Sustainable Urban Housing: Design Standards for New Apartments Guidelines for Planning Authorities, which were published in 2018. Paragraph 5.24 of the guidance committed the Department to monitor the provision of shared accommodation, with a view to issuing further technical updates of the sustainable urban housing guidelines document with regard to co-living, given the relatively new nature of this form of accommodation. The original guidelines provided for a two-year review. I stated in the Dáil and the convention centre that I would review co-living development. I asked my officials to do so and they completed a report, which I have carefully considered, having regard to the broader context of what I want the country to deliver, namely, sustainable, good, affordable housing, both public and private.
Further to the report, my preferred approach is to update the 2018 design standards for new apartments guidelines for planning authorities to restrict future commercial co-living development with a specific planning policy requirement, SPPR, for a presumption against grant of permissions for co-living shared accommodation. Yesterday, I issued a circular advising local authorities, An Bord Pleanála and the Office of the Planning Regulator of this and noting, in particular, the scale and location of co-living developments permitted and proposed to date, the need for a local authority-led evidence-based approach to guide any further provision, and the potential impact on land values. All of this is set out in the report I published yesterday, which is available to everyone. Effectively, in the guidelines I have set out on co-living, the presumption in respect of any new developments is refusal. It is a de facto ban.
My party welcomes the Minister's decision. His statements on this matter in opposition had been categorical and he has delivered on them as Minister. This could be an example of the Opposition and Government working effectively together. Is it the view of the Minister's officials that this decision will need to be underpinned by legislation in due course? Is there a suggestion it might be open to challenge? What will happen to planning applications that are currently being adjudicated by An Bord Pleanála? Applications for such developments in the south inner city and in Donaghmede in my constituency are currently under consideration.
The Minister's instruction has gone to An Bord Pleanála. Does his order have an effect on adjudications An Bord Pleanála may currently be making on applications?
The bottom line is that the circular issued to all planning authorities yesterday, so anything lodged beforehand is still in the system under the 2018 guidelines. I cannot change that because they were lodged at the time when the 2018 guidelines pertained. Existing permissions stand. It is important Deputies know that one of the reasons I looked at this in a lot of detail is that 14 permissions were granted to deliver approximately 2,100 units of this type and not one of them has been delivered. I was particularly concerned about the impact that was going to have, or was having, on land cost and values and whether some of these applications and permissions were simply about inflating the value of a particular piece of ground. Effectively, the current applications will move through the system and for new applications there is a presumption of a of a refusal because the guidance is that there be a refusal. I cannot make it retrospective, as the Deputy knows. The Government's position on co-living is clear: it is not a tenure of housing we prefer or that I, as Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, want to see.
We appreciate that and, again, it is something we welcomed yesterday when we saw the report. I have a quick question. If a number of planning applications were to be successful, if An Bord Pleanála were to rule that co-living, because of the previous guidelines, should be accepted in these cases, what measures does the Minister think would be within his powers to move against that? Do we just have to accept that these came and were given permission under previous guidelines and that is just the way it is or is there some kind of regulation he could bring in to monitor and have some kind of oversight over that type of accommodation? It is one thing to rule out everything that will happen from now on but to try to oversee the building standards that currently exist is another. As such, is there some way we can ensure that if something does get permission we are not behind the curve, that we are preparing for that eventuality? Is that something the Minister has thought about, is it something his officials are considering? I ask because we could have a situation where, notwithstanding the Minister's position on this, we have a number of co-living apartments or dwellings on stream in a very short period.
I have been clear regarding what we have done. I said I would carry out a review, which I did. I said I would base any decision I made on clear research and the data I had, which I have done. I have published the report for all to see. It outlines four different options and only one of those options was to do what I have done. Government has made a very clear decision here, through me as Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, that this type of development is not what we want to see. I have effectively banned these developments and there is a presumption of a refusal for any new applications that come in. It does not have any effect retrospectively for permissions that have been granted.
The Deputy mentioned building standards and other elements. The building standards will apply in each local authority area. It is interesting to note that not one of these developments has been built out yet. The clear decision made by Government yesterday shows that it is not a tenure of housing we want to see, it is not compatible with the "Housing for All" section of the programme for Government, which is what I want to deliver on: good public housing at scale and affordable housing for both purchase and rental. It is a significant decision and it is a very clear one and a break with what was being done.
39. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if residential development delivered by the Land Development Agency, LDA, will be delivered through designated activity company subsidiaries of the agency; if LDA developments may include unaffordable open market priced homes on public land; and if the compulsory purchase powers of the agency will be limited to ransom strips. [38722/20]
As the House knows, the revised general scheme of the Land Development Agency Bill 2020 has been published. It is a significantly longer text than the one the Minister and I scrutinised at the previous housing committee. There are a lot of significant changes but also some worrying carryover from the original draft. Maybe the Minister could give the House an overview of some of what he sees as the significant changes in the new general scheme.
The programme for Government contains a commitment in respect of the State playing a greater part in the deliver and direct provision of affordable and social homes and the LDA Bill will play a key role in that regard. I recently received Cabinet approval for a revised general scheme for the LDA Bill, which reflects the commitments in the programme for Government and indeed the consideration of the issues raised during the previous pre-legislative scrutiny in which the Deputy and I both took part during the lifetime of the previous Oireachtas. The revised general scheme provides that the LDA will be established as a statutory corporation, rather than a designated activity company, DAC, but also provides for enabling powers for the LDA to establish subsidiaries as DACs, where appropriate, to deliver on its functions. There are other State bodies established as DACs so this form of corporate structure is, as the Deputy knows, already in use within the State. The revised general scheme also makes clear that one of the principal objectives of the LDA will be to develop sustainable communities, with a particular focus on enhancing the stock of climate resistant, low-carbon and affordable housing.
Specific provisions are included in respect of the provision of housing on State lands. With respect to the other part of the Deputy's question, as part of its broad functions in relation to strategic land assembly, it is proposed that the LDA will have compulsory purchase order, CPO, powers but it is expected that it will only be used for ransom strips.
The LDA Bill is being drafted as a priority. A great deal of very detailed work is going into it with the assistance of the Office of the Attorney General. It is being drafted as a priority in order to place the LDA on a primary legislative footing.
I thank the Minister for his reply. One of the concerns both he and I had last year was that by using the designated activity companies model for the residential developments, those activities would not be subject to FOI and the lobbying register. That is obviously still the case where the LDA uses the its subsidiaries as the Minister has outlined. There is of course also a concern that the definition of "affordable housing" in the new general scheme is simply a discount on prevailing market prices in that location, which, in many part of this city, would not be affordable.
It is very troubling that the agency does not have CPO powers any stronger than those in the last general scheme; ransom strips were there previously and still are. That undermines the ability of the LDA to do its land management function.
There is still too little mention of social housing in the general scheme. I think there is only one instance. This means that on land which is not owned by local authorities - such as, for example, the site of the former Central Mental Hospital in Dundrum, on which up to 1,000 homes could be built - we could have only 10% social, maybe 30%. How affordable they would be we do not know and there will still be a large volume of homes at open market prices. That is concerning for some of us so maybe the Minister will respond on those issues.
The legislation in question is important and, as the Deputy rightly says, a lot of work and effort went into it in the previous Oireachtas. I was quite critical of parts of the previous heads of Bill that were published and some significant changes have been made in that regard. If one looks at the programme for Government, in the "Housing for All" section, we very clearly define what we want the LDA to do, with a very specific focus on the delivery of public and affordable homes on public land. The priority must be to get it up and running on a statutory footing, a primary legislation footing. That is why I want to get the Bill published in advanced of Christmas. The plan is to do so and move it forward.
The Deputy referred to subsidiaries. It is obviously the intention that any subsidiaries created by the LDA for the purpose of developing State lands - should that happen, as this Bill only gives them the power to do so - would be fully owned by the LDA and therefore by the State. That was a concern we had in the past that will be addressed in this. I want to say very clearly that for the purposes of developing State land, any subsidiaries, should they be established, would be fully owned by the LDA and, therefore, owned by the State
The Minister is aware that the housing committee has written to him wanting to know if pre-legislative scrutiny on the general scheme is possible in view of the fact that most of the committee members are new. It would be helpful if he would give the committee an indication of whether he is willing to do that or not. The committee would of course expedite such a request. I am very concerned, however, because the issue of FOI and the lobbying register remains as problematic today as it was before. The issue of lack of CPO powers remains as it was before and the lack of clarity on the volume of social and genuinely affordable housing that will be delivered on these significant pieces of public land is still as unclear as it was before. Pre-legislative scrutiny would give us an opportunity to tease this out.
We do not want to delay the Bill but the most important thing is to get it right and not to rush it, particularly in light of the significant role it is going to play in the years ahead. If we get this wrong, if the set-up does not do what the programme for Government promises, we will end up with a vehicle with very limited adequate public scrutiny of its commercial activities and with very little active land management functions in social and affordable housing, and that would be a bad day's work on everyone's part.
The Deputy regularly has a tendency to think and presume the worst of what will happen but I am convinced we will get this Bill right. The Bill will be published shortly so I would say in advance of raising criticism based on his own thoughts, the Deputy might wait until he sees the published Bill. I will certainly through the course of the Second Stage debate and on Committee and Report Stages take on board any amendments deemed fit and appropriate. The one aspect on which I agree with the Deputy is the urgency of the legislation. I do not think, by the way, the restriction of compulsory purchase order powers is something that should raise any concern. What I want the Land Development Agency to do, which is why the Government has provided funding into 2021, is to break ground on Shanganagh Castle and get started on building and delivering homes. We can continue with these political debates on housing delivery or we can get on and deliver the houses. This is why I want the Land Development Agency Bill published and the Land Development Agency established on a primary legislative footing so it can get on and deliver good housing stock for our people.
40. Deputy Peadar Tóibín asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage the amount of funding allocated to each local authority and to approved housing bodies to construct social housing for persons with disabilities; and the amount provided to each local authority for each of the past five years. [38636/20]
People with disabilities are more than twice as likely to face discrimination relating to housing and they are 1.6 times more likely to live in poor conditions. They live in damp housing and housing that lacks central heating and they also live in areas with significant problems. A total of 25% of people forced to live homeless on our streets have a disability. This is a rate far higher than is in the general population. More than 1,000 people with disabilities under the age of 65, and this is startling, live inappropriately in nursing homes.
I am fully committed to ensuring that accessible social homes are available to persons with disabilities. Budget 2021 has made available €3.3 billion towards a wide range of housing programmes that will deliver 12,750 new social homes for next year. A record 9,500 of these homes will be new build homes, designed and planned using guidelines, build standards and planning regulations supported by the Department. In respect of construction funding over the period from 2016 to 2019, the Department provided almost €2.1 billion to local authorities to deliver new social homes, including new homes for people with disabilities. I will arrange for the officials to provide the Deputy with a breakdown, by local authority. The detailed breakdown of housing funding for 2020 will be finalised at the year's end.
The capital assistance scheme is a key programme of delivery of homes for persons with disabilities. The Department also provides a range of specialised grants, including housing adaptation grants for people with a disability of up to €30,000 to assist them to have necessary adaptations, repairs or improvement works carried out. The mobility aids grant scheme is available to fast-track grants of up to €6,000 to cover a suite of basic measures and works to help and assist with mobility problems for any member of a household.
It is also worth noting the national housing strategy for people with a disability is due to be reviewed in 2021 and an advisory group is due to meet before the end of this year to assess the pathway to go forward. Each local authority, as the Deputy will be aware, has a housing and disability steering group that includes a director of services of housing, the chair of the council and members of the HSE. This is due to meet a minimum of four times each calendar year.
It is important to look at the facts. Between 2,000 and 4,000 people with disabilities are living in congregated settings with ten or more people. This is before we look at the hidden homeless, who are people with disabilities living in the homes of family or friends. Many of them have no expectation of independent living because of the fact those homes may not be suitable for them.
Assessment carried out by the Department has shown there has been a significant increase between 2013 and now of those with disabilities who are in housing need. While I appreciate a certain level of development has happened with regard to assessment, it is radically necessary that we invest in making homes accessible to people with disabilities. The Minister of State mentioned the money going into adaptation grants. A sum of €70 million between 31 local authorities is the total amount. When we break it up between 31 local authorities, it is small money. Each year, the demand for this money far exceeds the supply. Local authorities often break it up into lists and typically they do not get past the first list.
As I said, the committee will meet before the end of the year to review the process. I remind the Deputy we have increased funding for adaptation grants consistently over recent years. There was a 19% increase from 2019 to 2020 and it has been increased again for next year. It will be €75 million in 2021. Money has been put behind this. If local authorities are short of money for funding streams, there is additional money for which they can apply through the Department. It is very important this money is spent and that local authorities are proactive in this regard. Local authority members need to drive forward these expenditure patterns. As I have said, the processes are in place and it is up to the local authorities to execute them. We have significant funding and, even in difficult times, funding has been increased. Each year from 2019 to 2021 the funding has been increased. The Minister secured an increase for 2021, which will ease people's issues in terms of mobility and in terms of new builds. These are key with regard to the measures being brought forward by the Government.
I welcome the fact there has been an increase in funding over recent years. Typically in recent years when Governments have quoted increases, they have come from a phenomenally low base. These budgets were slashed significantly after 2011 and stayed extremely low until 2013 and 2014. Independent Living Movement Ireland has assessed local authorities on a sliding scale with regard to how good they are at providing housing and services to people with disabilities. They indicate that two councils, that is, 6% of all councils, were very good at delivering housing. It stated 94% of councils were either average or poor at delivering housing or adaptations for people with disabilities. It rated a total of 65% of councils as poor and nine councils were rated average. If 65% of councils are being rated as poor by those living this experience, it sends a very strong message that we have to listen to in the Chamber. All the reviews in the world will not do what is necessary until we do one thing, which is to match delivery of budget with the need and this is still not there.
I absolutely disagree with that contention because if we look at the facts, 10,023 households directly benefited from interventions by the Department with regard to disabilities. We will increase this to more than 10,500 in 2021 because of the significant increase in the budget in recent years. With regard to local authority delivery, a steering group has been established in each of 31 local authorities that can assess why delivery is not as expected if they are not drawing down their funding. This is supposed to meet four times a year. Our review on national policy will be implemented next year. As I said, we will have a meeting before the end of 2020 in this regard. Significant funding is there and it is up to the local authorities to drive that funding and spend it, and up to the groups and processes they have in place to ensure the money is spent properly.
41. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage if he will work with Dublin City Council to secure European Investment Bank finance and a serviced sites fund allocation to ensure the delivery of social and affordable homes on the Oscar Traynor road site in Coolock, Dublin 17. [38723/20]
As the Minister knows, a substantial majority of Dublin City Council members rejected the proposal of their management to transfer land on Oscar Traynor Road to a private developer as part of the scheme there. I understand the Lord Mayor of Dublin has written to the Minister. This is an opportunity for us to work together and not be adversarial but to try to put in place a better funding package and a better scheme. I am interested in his thoughts on how best to proceed on this site.
I am aware of Oscar Traynor Road and the decision the city council took. I walked that site myself with Deputy Paul McAuliffe and others, and all of us will agree it has been vacant and unused for far too long. It is a significant site. The proposal rejected by the local authority, which is within its powers and function, would have delivered 853 homes and included 253 social homes fully funded by the Department. A further contribution of just short of €9 million was available to assist in the delivery of 172 additional affordable homes on the site.
Following the vote last week, I sought a report from council management. I have received this, and it is short. I am meeting them tomorrow, not just about Oscar Traynor Road, although it will form part of those discussions. Not surprisingly, given the decision, the council has confirmed it needs some time to engage with councillors to gather views and to try to build some consensus on how the sites should be developed.
My Department, and the Ministers of State, Deputies Burke and Noonan, will not be found wanting in that regard. We cannot delay too long on this. I do not want to see another protracted discussion back and forth. I would be more than happy to work with the Deputy and others across the House. However, let us be realistic too. The Department and myself, as Minister, cannot build out every site in the country. This one is significant. We will help where we can. I urge the city council and the councillors of all parties and none to work towards a realistic and deliverable proposal so we can work with on this site very quickly. I am meeting the city council tomorrow.
I welcome the Minister's response. He will recall that he worked alongside others in opposition and the then Minister of State, Deputy Damien English, to successfully remove St. Michael's Estate from the land initiative into a much more sustainable public housing funding model that is currently working its way through. That is what we need to do in this instance.
The vast majority of councillors who opposed the transfer of land are not opposed to the residential development on that site. In fact, the local community needs social and affordable homes. The best way to proceed is in exactly the way the Minister has outlined, but with some haste, and to secure European Investment Bank funding alongside departmental funding to deliver fully public development on this site. The tenure mixture in terms of social, affordable rental and affordable purchase is a matter for the local councillors and the local community. It is our job to put forward the best funding model. I believe this site could be broken up into several Part VIII sections to expedite planning permission next year, do tendering and procurement in parallel and then be onsite the following year. However, the key is the Department working with the local authority to secure that package of European Investment Bank and departmental funding. I am certainly willing to work constructively with the Minister and others to try to achieve that aim.
I thank the Deputy. I do not want to constrain what the city council will do over the coming weeks by giving my own view on the solution or the way forward with this. All I would say is that there are a number of workable options available and we should not constrain the thinking within the council on what those would be.
My Department had provided significant funding under the original proposal, which has been rejected. Housing tenure and different housing types also need to be looked at, without rejecting any one type of housing tenure out of hand, as some have done. I am open to working with others on this to deliver quickly. What I am not open to is having months of protracted discussions on it; I am not interested in that. I want to be open and let the council do its bit and assess what has happened. I am going to meet council management tomorrow and while I am not meeting them solely on Oscar Traynor Road, that will form part of my discussions. I hope we will be able to advance this very quickly over the coming weeks into early January.
The haste the Minister speaks about is, again, something we would welcome and we will work with him on this. We cannot have strategic sites such as this being used, for example, for so-called affordable housing that costs the purchaser between €325,000 for a one-bed up to €380,000 for a three-bed. We cannot have valuable public land like this being used to sell open market, unaffordable housing for between €400,000 and €420,000.
I welcome the fact the Minister has given a very clear commitment over a number of months both to deliver public housing on public land to meet social and affordable need, and also, crucially, to oversee a step change in Government policy. The land initiative was never really something that the majority of Dublin city councillors wanted. It was a product of a time capital funding was slashed and we do not have to use that model. What I would say, and I say it in good faith, is that if the Minister wants to demonstrate that his Ministry is radically different from that of his predecessor, Oscar Traynor Road is his opportunity to prove that. He should give the council the options. It cannot pluck funding models out of the sky; the Minister has to show a willingness to work with it. I believe that if he puts those funding models on the table, he will see a welcome response from the councillors.
We will work with others on it but it will not be either of those. We will not be held to ransom by a small number of councillors with ideological opposition to certain different types of housing tenure.
What is the Minister talking about?
The Deputy has just arrived. Will he relax? I think he doth protest too much.
Let us deal with this from the perspective that we can resolve this situation. We have an opportunity. We need to develop the lands the State has better and faster. We cannot constrain or restrain the ambition that some local authorities will show in regard to how they deem it fit to develop their lands. Some local authorities are better at doing it than others. I ask people to look at the historical delivery of some local authorities versus others.
As to what we will do in regard to this particular site, it affords us an opportunity to look at the issue again and look at how we can deliver faster. Fundamentally, we have to deliver more homes, both public and private, for our people. This year, we will probably deliver under 17,000 house completions and we need at least 33,000 homes, private and public, not just public.