Thursday, 12 July 2012

Questions (127, 128)

Regina Doherty

Question:

127 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection now that Ashbourne and Ratoath, County Meath, have been moved to be managed to the Fingal Area Office, if the same rent supplement rates will apply to Ashbourne and Ratoath that apply to Finglas, Glasneven and so on, Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34086/12]

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Regina Doherty

Question:

143 Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for Social Protection if a review of the rental markets in Ashbourne and Ratoath, County Meath, was conducted; if she will state the justification for not raising the rent supplement levels in these towns to the level applying in Finglas, Glasneven and so on; if she will supply in tabular form the rent supplement levels that previously applied and currently applied in each of these towns; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [34199/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Social Protection)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 127 and 143 together.

The purpose of the rent supplement scheme is to provide short-term income support, to eligible people living in private rented accommodation whose means are insufficient to meet their accommodation costs and who do not have accommodation available to them from any other source. The aim is to provide short term assistance, and not to act as an alternative to the other social housing schemes operated by the Exchequer. There are approximately 92,000 persons in receipt of rent supplement for which the Government has provided a sum of €436 million for 2012.

As part of the ongoing streamlining of services following the integration of the community welfare service into the Department, responsibility for the management of this service for Ratoath and Ashbourne has recently transferred to the Dublin North Division. There has been no change to the provision of the community welfare services provided locally in Ratoath and Ashbourne. New maximum rent limits came into force on 1 January 2012 and are in place until June 2013. The emphasis of the rent limit review was to ensure that maximum value for money for tenants and the taxpayer was achieved whilst at the same time ensuring that people on rent supplement are not priced out of the market for private rented accommodation.

For all counties, major urban population centres were tested as part of the rents review to ensure that rent supplement applicants can access temporary housing arrangements whilst seeking employment opportunities. In the case of Meath the following areas were isolated for consideration: Ashbourne; Athboy; Bettystown; Dunshaughlin; Navan; Trim; Ratoath; Kells; Laytown; Enfield; and the rest of Meath county as a whole. Maximum rent limits are set on the basis of geographic location and the County Meath rent limits remain in place for Ashbourne and Ratoath. Current information shows there is accommodation available at the new maximum rent limits in county Meath. It is important to bear in mind that the purpose of the review is to ensure availability of accommodation for rent supplement tenancies and not to provide rent supplement tenants with access to all housing in all areas.

The current and previous maximum rent limits for County Meath are set out in the following table. The Department will continue to monitor rent levels throughout the country but at this stage there are no plans to revise the existing rent limits.

2012 Rent Supplement Rent limits for County Meath

County

Single person in shared accommo- dation

Couple in shared accommo- dation

Single person

Couple with no children

Couple or one-parent family with one child

Couple or one-parent family with two children

Couple or one-parent family with three children

County Meath

€200

€260

€390

€450

€550

€610

€675

2010 Rent Supplement Rent limits for County Meath

County

Single person in shared accommo- dation

Couple in shared accommo- dation

Single person

Couple with no children

Couple or one-parent family with one child

Couple or one-parent family with two children

Couple or one-parent family with three children

County Meath

€260

€265

€468

€550

€650

€700

€750