I propose to take Questions Nos. 7, 8 and 139 together.
The affordable housing initiative under the Sustaining Progress partnership agreement is designed to meet the needs of persons currently priced out of the housing market. In response, the Government has committed to an ambitious scale of delivery of affordable housing through this initiative and the provisions of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000.
Measurable progress has been made on delivering this initiative. First, the identification of sites for the initiative last July and December has been a critical step in ensuring early mobilisation of affordable housing for the initiative. Together with affordable housing coming through Part V arrangements, the sites so far identified have the potential to deliver 6,100 housing units. The fact that these sites are being released by both local authorities and a range of other State authorities indicates the broad commitment at Government level to facilitate the earliest delivery of housing at affordable prices.
Second, working with the parties to the pay agreement we have developed a delivery model which builds upon the existing expertise of local authorities, while at the same time ensuring that there is no impact on general Government finances, as this is one of the parameters set by the agreement. The housing will therefore be delivered through arrangements between local authorities and the private sector.
Third, we have agreed, in principle, eligibility criteria with the parties to the pay agreement subject to further discussions on the detail. The timescale for delivery and the precise number of units to be delivered on each site is being determined in planning the projects. There are more than 24 projects involved, and they vary in terms of key site characteristics such as zoning status and servicing. Allowance must also be factored in for the procurement of specific developers to deliver the projects through competitive tendering and for obtaining planning permission. These processes, while involving a time element, are necessary to ensure the effective delivery of housing and the creation of housing in good quality environments.
Work on implementing this initiative is progressing as a priority and consultations are continuing with Departments, State agencies and local authorities. This is firm evidence of the Government's determination to making measurable progress in the implementation of this initiative by the mid-term review of Sustaining Progress. We will work to ensure that the output from all affordable housing schemes is maximised while ensuring the continuation of measures to maintain the overall supply of new houses.