Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (299)

Barry Cowen

Question:

299. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government to outline the steps he will take in view of EUROSTAT CSO changes to the Government balance sheet status of approved housing bodies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4832/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In December 2017, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) made a decision on their review of the classification of Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) for Government accounting purposes. They found that 14 of the 16 largest AHBs should be re-classified as falling within the public sector, under the broad local government classification.

While a final decision has yet to be taken by Eurostat regarding this matter, detailed analysis of the potential impacts on the Government debt and expenditure is underway. My Department is examining the implications of this decision by the CSO in detail, in close collaboration with my colleague, Minister Donohoe's Departments.

To inform these considerations, the CSO is currently engaged in collecting the required data to compile the end-March 2018 Excessive Deficit Procedure (EDP) notification tables that cover  general government deficit and debt. At the same time, the Department of Finance is also preparing the Stability Programme Update 2018. This will take full account of the figures published by the CSO as part of the government finance statistics release.

The on-going work aims to identify what measures can be taken to manage or mitigate the potential impacts on the capacity of the AHB sector in the supply and management of social housing. I intend to bring proposals to Government with a view to exploring the options available to us that will ensure that the commitment to the AHB sector's role in contributing to delivery of social housing under Rebuilding Ireland is met.