Shared Ownership Scheme

Questions (153, 154)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

153. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if the review of the shared ownership loan scheme is complete; if he will share the findings of the report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42664/13]

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Catherine Murphy

Question:

154. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether there is a potential risk to local authorities in cases where persons are unable to buy out their portion of the shared ownership loans where the value of the property has fallen significantly; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42671/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 153 and 154 together.

The Government’s 2011 housing policy statement announced the standing down of all affordable housing schemes, including the shared ownership scheme, in the context of a full review of Part V of the Planning and Development Act. That review is available on my Department’s website www.environ.ie and the period for public submissions closed on 27 September 2013.

Earlier this year, I asked the Housing & Sustainable Communities Agency to conduct a standalone review of the shared ownership scheme, including identification of the main difficulties and recommendations for mitigating measures. I have received an interim draft of the review from the Agency and I intend to issue a circular letter to local authorities this month with preliminary recommendations arising from the review. A number of issues have been identified that need further detailed financial analysis in order to fully assess the impact on local authority finances of possible mitigating measures. This additional work is underway and I expect to make further recommendations in the coming months.

Commercial Rates Valuation Process

Questions (155)

Regina Doherty

Question:

155. Deputy Regina Doherty asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will review the situation whereby the commercial rates paid by an accredited equestrian school (details supplied) in County Meath are higher than those of non-accredited centres; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42672/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

Local authorities are under a statutory obligation to levy rates on any property used for commercial purposes in accordance with the details entered in the valuation lists prepared by the independent Commissioner of Valuation under the Valuation Act 2001. The Commissioner for Valuation has sole responsibility for all valuation matters and the Valuation Act 2001 comes under the aegis of my colleague, the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform.

The property’s valuation, together with the annual rate on valuation (ARV) decided by the elected members of each local authority in the annual budget, determines the level of rates to be paid. The factors that influence local authority members’ decisions on the ARV include the level of services to be provided by the local authority and the income available from all other sources to fund these services. Therefore, elected members adopt the ARV that they consider necessary to provide the range of services for the communities, including businesses, in their area.

NAMA Portfolio Issues

Questions (156)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

156. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in tabular form, for the years 2011 to 2013, inclusive, the number of houses offered by the National Asset Management Agency to each local authority here; the number of offers proceeded with and the number of offers refused; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42674/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

In 2011 NAMA identified 73 housing units that may be suitable for Social Housing purposes; in 2012 a further 4,039 were identified and in 2013, to date, an additional 239 units have been identified. Of these 4,351 units identified by NAMA , currently 1,900 have been deemed suitable and of these 443 have completed or been contracted.  Another 290 properties are currently being evaluated. The local authorities have confirmed that 1,359 of the properties identified are considered unsuitable by reference to sustainable planning and housing policy or are located in areas with no demand.  While the process of assessing demand was on-going a further 802 properties were either sold or privately let by their owners or receivers.

My Department, the Housing Agency and NAMA continue to work together with housing authorities and approved housing bodies towards identifying suitable NAMA housing units and bringing them into social housing use. A breakdown by county of the units identified, deemed suitable and completed or contracted is shown in the following table.

County

Identified

Suitable

Complete/Contracted

Carlow

137

82

55

Cavan

47

 

 

Clare

169

19

7

Cork

471

271

36

Cork City

419

202

53

Donegal

95

59

 

Dublin City

628

252

55

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

328

122

58

Fingal

203

45

20

Galway

84

44

 

Galway City

117

117

45

Kerry

90

52

15

Kildare

243

97

57

Kilkenny

167

96

 

Laois

98

10

 

Leitrim

35

 

 

Limerick

112

9

9

Longford

31

11

 

Louth

27

27

27

Mayo

66

58

 

Meath

203

38

 

Monaghan

35

30

 

North Tipperary

13

 

 

Offaly

79

64

 

Roscommon

91

1

 

Sligo

46

15

 

South Dublin

60

42

 

South Tipperary

24

 

 

Waterford

65

27

 

Westmeath

42

29

4

Wexford

90

74

2

Wicklow

36

7

 

Total

4,351

1,900

443

Local Authority Housing Mortgages

Questions (157)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

157. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide in tabular form for each of the years 2011 to 2013, inclusive, the number of local authority loans applied for, approved and drawn down in each administrative area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42675/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department collates and publishes a wide range of housing and planning statistics that inform the preparation and evaluation of policy, and those data are available on my Department’s website www.environ.ie.

Data on number of local authority loan house purchase loan applications are not included in this range. Data on the number of local authority loan house purchase loan approvals and drawdowns are included in this range; however, they are not broken down by administrative area. A breakdown of the loans approved and paid broken down by county area is provided in the following table:

Loans funded by local authorities*

2011

2012

2013 - 6 months

County Councils

LOANS APPROVED

LOANS PAID

LOANS APPROVED

LOANS PAID

LOANS APPROVED

LOANS PAID

Carlow

2

1

4

3

9

5

Cavan

1

0

2

1

1

0

Clare

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cork

0

0

2

2

5

3

Donegal

0

3

0

0

3

2

DL/Rathdown

0

0

6

5

0

0

Fingal

1

0

16

15

7

6

Galway

1

2

0

0

1

0

Kerry

0

0

0

0

2

0

Kildare

0

0

0

0

1

1

Kilkenny

3

2

5

4

4

4

Laois

11

6

19

16

15

5

Leitrim

0

0

2

2

1

1

Limerick

0

0

9

5

6

4

Longford

2

2

3

3

0

0

Louth

0

0

0

0

0

0

Mayo

24

7

34

31

8

16

Meath

5

4

11

8

2

2

Monaghan

4

2

5

5

2

1

North Tipperary

0

0

3

0

0

1

Offaly

0

0

0

0

0

0

Roscommon

0

0

1

1

0

1

Sligo

0

1

6

0

2

3

South Dublin

1

0

6

5

1

0

South Tipperary

0

0

0

0

0

1

Waterford

0

0

4

2

1

1

Westmeath

2

1

0

0

1

0

Wexford

10

4

9

13

6

1

Wicklow

0

0

1

2

1

4

City Councils

Cork

0

0

2

0

3

3

Dublin

13

9

41

25

18

27

Galway

0

0

0

0

0

0

Limerick

3

2

5

6

0

0

Waterford

1

1

6

3

1

2

Borough Councils

Clonmel

0

0

1

1

0

0

Drogheda

1

1

16

15

12

15

Kilkenny

0

0

0

0

0

0

Sligo

1

0

1

2

0

0

Wexford

0

0

0

0

0

0

Town Councils

Athlone

0

0

0

0

0

0

Bray

0

0

0

0

0

0

Dundalk

0

0

0

0

2

2

TOTAL

86

48

220

175

115

111

* Loans paid in a certain year may relate to loans approved in previous years.

Local Government Reform

Questions (158)

Seán Ó Fearghaíl

Question:

158. Deputy Seán Ó Fearghaíl asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government in view of his policy of encouraging more women to participate in the political process and local government, the steps being taken by him to encourage greater female participation in the upper echelons of local government administration; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42676/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

As indicated in the Government’s Action Programme for Effective Local Government, Putting People First, it is the intention to encourage the participation of women as elected members in local government. The promotion of gender equality in local government is dealt with at paragraph 11.8 of the Programme.

Part 6 of the Electoral (Amendment) (Political Funding) Act 2012 will require political parties to achieve a gender balance in candidate selection at general elections. This provision links the State funding of political parties to the achievement of a gender balance in candidate selection at Dáil general elections.  In order to receive full State funding, a qualified political party will have to have at least 30% women candidates and at least 30% men candidates at the next general election. Seven years from the next general election, this will rise to 40%.  The new legislative provisions are designed as an incentive mechanism to encourage political parties to apply a more equal gender balance in the selection of candidates.  It is intended that this measure would have a knock-on effect by providing an incentive to political parties voluntarily to apply similar arrangements at local elections.

As regards local government administration, recruitment competitions at senior level are held by the Public Appointments Service in co-operation with my Department and the relevant local authorities, all of whom are committed to the highest standards of customer service and comply with equality and other relevant legislation and codes of practice. Recruitment competitions held at local level adhere to the same high standards particularly in regards to equality legislation and related compliance.