Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Questions (346)

Eamon Ryan


346. Deputy Eamon Ryan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if his Department has conducted an independent audit of the previous affordable homes purchase scheme provided from 2002 to 2011 under the Planning and Development Acts 2000 to 2002 before his announcement of the Rebuilding Ireland affordable homes initiative on 22 January 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4921/18]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

In 2007, the Affordable Homes Partnership commissioned a report, Increasing Affordable Housing Supply, to consider how the range of affordable housing mechanisms might be improved or expanded by new initiatives to increase the supply and accelerate the delivery of affordable housing. The work was guided by a Steering Group, chaired by my Department and comprising representatives from local authorities, the Departments of the Taoiseach and Finance, as well as the Affordable Homes Partnership.  A copy of this report is available on my Department’s website at the following link:

The 2007 report made a number of recommendations and suggested a fundamental change in the manner in which affordable housing was operated. It also recommended substituting an equity share arrangement in place of the time limited claw-back that existed when discounted affordable houses were sold.

Following on from the review process, the statutory framework was put in place, through the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, to provide for the introduction of a new type of affordable homes purchase scheme, based on an equity share approach.  A Regulatory Impact Analysis was conducted as part of that process.  The relevant provisions of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009 were not commenced at the time, as affordability had eased so significantly during the economic downturn, and as such the programme of affordable housing initiatives were suspended in 2011.  However, I believe this is the opportune time to reintroduce an affordable purchase scheme that is streamlined, equitable and sustainable and it is my intention to commence the relevant provisions of the 2009 Act shortly.

In addition, the Housing Agency conducted in 2014 a review of the operation of Part V of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended. Following on from that review, the Urban Regeneration and Housing Act 2015 was enacted which provided several amendments to remove the payment of cash in lieu of homes, the transfer of sites or parts of sites, so as to ensure that the remaining options are focused on the delivery of completed homes. The focus of Part V is currently on the delivery of social housing only.

Question No. 347 answered with Question No. 341.