Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (93)

Brian Stanley

Question:

93. Deputy Brian Stanley asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if his attention has been drawn to the details of an oral arrangement between his Department and Dublin City Council to avoid cuts to housing in 2014; the rationale for this last minute deal; and the way it will be implemented. [5029/14]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

There was no decision made to cut my Department’s allocation to Dublin City Council in respect of the housing programme for this year. Work is well advanced on preparing the capital allocations under the various housing measures which comprise the Social Housing Investment Programme for 2014. As part of this process, my Department liaised closely with the City Council to ascertain the level of commitments on on-going projects and in relation to demand-led schemes such as the private housing grants scheme.

The overall level of funding available to me for the housing programme this year is broadly on a par with last year. While the Abridged Estimates 2014 show some variation in the capital provisions under the various measures compared to last year this reflects changing priorities in my approach for 2014. I expect the capital allocations to individual authorities will reflect this re-focusing also. For example, the €50 million announced in Budget 2014 to fund investment in new social housing construction will allow me to announce a new local authority social housing construction programme this year. I will also announce details very shortly of a new measure, with funding of €15 million, for the retrofitting of vacant and boarded-up local authority houses. I confidently expect that we can return as many as 450 of these houses to productive use this year and make them available to households on the waiting list. Given the high level of housing need in the city, I expect the City Council will benefit greatly under both of these measures.

I am making additional funding available to local authorities this year under the suite of Grants for Older People and People with a Disability. All local authorities will benefit and the Dublin City Council allocation is up around 6% compared to last year.

In 2014, national funding for homeless services from my Department is being maintained at the 2013 level of €45 million. In 2013, Dublin City Council on behalf of the Dublin Region received €31.3 million, or 69.9%, of the national total. While the precise 2014 ‘Section 10’ Exchequer allocation to the Dublin Region is yet to be determined I expect it to be broadly in line with last year’s allocation. The 2014 allocations will also facilitate the continuation of Dublin City Council’s regeneration programme, including substantial progress in regenerating Dolphin House and St Teresa’s Gardens.

I intend to announce details of the local authority and voluntary housing construction programmes and the allocations under the new measure for boarded-up houses very shortly. Until then, I am not in a position to say what the overall allocation to Dublin City Council will be.