Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Questions (625)

Darragh O'Brien

Question:

625. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the status of plans to increase the capacity through increased borrowing and access to HFA financing for participating local authorities to provide matching funding for the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund. [50059/19]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) was designed to activate housing supply by putting in place the enabling public infrastructure necessary to ensure that large scale development could take place on key sites in urban areas of high housing demand. Approval was given for 30 projects under LIHAF in 2017 and it is anticipated that these projects will stimulate the development of up to 20,000 housing units across 14 local authorities.

Funding of €200 million was provided under LIHAF, of which €150 million was made available via the Exchequer with local authorities matching up to €50 million. The final 30 projects received approval with an overall budget of €195.7m, of which €146.8m will be Exchequer funded, with the remainder funded via local authorities. Details on all of the LIHAF projects by local authority area and budget allocation are available at www.rebuildingireland.ie/LIHAF.

In terms of LIHAF expenditure, most projects have been at the design and planning stages, and this is reflected in the level of expenditure to date. However, more projects are now progressing to construction stage and it is expected that the expenditure will increase significantly towards in 2020 to reflect the increased construction activity.

Drawdown of LIHAF grant funding from the Department commenced with €1.603m in Exchequer funding provided in 2017, a further €6.814m in 2018 and approximately €17m to date in 2019. Each of these Exchequer amounts was matched by 25% local authority funding.

Officials in my Department are in ongoing contact with the participating local authorities and to date no significant issues have been raised with my Department regarding access to, or the provision of, matching funding. The HFA has confirmed that it has not received any applications for LIHAF funding from Local Authorities. However, the HFA has confirmed that it is in a position to assist local authorities with low cost, long term fixed rate finance, should they wish to access same.