I clearly outlined in this House this morning my views on the changes and policy shifts that are needed for student accommodation. I also outlined the actions that I am taking in this regard along with the Minister, Deputy Darragh O’Brien, and the wider Government. I get a little frustrated when people talk about yesterday's budget and then reference capital projects that were not included in it. Yesterday's budget was largely a current budget. We took a number of measures on the cost of living and affordability, including for students. Many students, including those in the Deputy’s constituency, will benefit from significant changes I introduced on the adjacency rate. Up until now, a student's family home had to be more than 45 km from their college in order to access the higher grant rate. That has now changed to 30 km. For some students, that will mean an increase of €2,000 a year in their grants. We did, therefore, take concrete measures yesterday. I accept that we have more to do to help students, along with all citizens, with the cost of living.
On the capital side of it, the national development plan, which was announced last week, significantly increased the capital allocation to my Department, to the higher education sector and to the further education sector. When it comes to student accommodation, the model that is likely to be used will ensure that these institutions can access the borrowing framework. The help that we are likely to provide to the technological universities will be in accessing finance. I want to sit down with the Housing Finance Agency to look at how we can progress the exciting proposals that no doubt will come from County Tipperary and the Deputy’s own region of Cork South-West. I look forward to keeping in touch with Deputies Michael Collins and Mattie McGrath on these matters.