Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (73)

Willie Penrose


73. Deputy Willie Penrose asked the Minister for Education and Skills if the call by a union (details supplied) for the provision of capital grants specifically for developments of purpose-built student accommodation will be considered in advance of budget 2020 in view of the high costs that students pay for accommodation; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [27426/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department is actively engaging with USI and the higher education sector to find solutions to the student accommodation issue.

The National Student Accommodation Strategy was launched in July 2017 and was designed to ensure that there is an increased supply of purpose built student accommodation (PBSA). Figures from the of the end of May 2019 show that a total of 6,691 additional PBSA beds have been built since the publication of Rebuilding Ireland in 2016. An additional 14,000 bed spaces are either currently under construction or have had plans granted and are awaiting the start of construction at this time.

This represents in excess of 20,500 new student specific bed spaces known to be either complete or in the pipeline since the launch of Rebuilding Ireland in July 2016.

The increased availability of supply should act to moderate price in the medium to long term. In the interim, the Residential Tenancies (Amendment) Act 2019 was enacted in May of this year and provides that PBSA, let under license, will be brought under the rent predictability provisions of the Rent Pressure Zones which are already applicable to general tenancies.

The Department's limited capital funding allocation for the higher education sector is focused on the expansion and upgrade of core academic infrastructure, taking account of increasing student enrolments. The Department is not in a position to provide capital grants for the development of student accommodation.