I propose to take Questions Nos. 864 and 865 together.
The Warmer Homes Scheme delivers a range of energy efficiency measures free of charge to low income households that meet the defined eligibility criteria and are vulnerable to energy poverty. The Scheme has been in existence since 2002 and has provided upgrades to over 140,000 homes, leaving the occupants better able to afford to heat their homes to an adequate level.
The scheme is available nationwide and has evolved over time from initially only providing basic insulation, to now also offering a much deeper retrofit including internal and external wall insulation. The Climate Action Plan commits to a review of the scheme being completed by the end of the year to ensure that those most in need are targeted.
A budget of €52.8 million has been allocated to the Scheme for next year. This represents the biggest ever budget for the Warmer Homes Scheme – more than double the initial allocation for 2019. €13 million of this funding is ring-fenced revenue arising from the increase in the Carbon Price. This significantly increased level of investment represents an important step towards realising the Government’s Climate Action Plan targets in the area of building retrofitting while prioritising the most vulnerable householders.
Social housing upgrades are a matter for the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government. A budget of €25 million has been allocated for the social housing energy efficiency retrofit programme in 2019. Budget 2020 has provided an additional €20 million from revenues arising from the increase in the carbon price, for the retrofitting of social housing in the Midlands. This scheme will focus on upgrading much larger batches of homes in distinct, compact geographical areas and allow private homeowners to opt-in. This will determine the savings that can be achieved through a larger scale and more structured approach to the renovation of our housing stock. It will also create new, sustainable employment in the region. The specific design of the project will be driven by the Retrofit Taskforce which is chaired by my Department.