Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

Ceist:

663 Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the plans, if any, he has to change the rules that apply to the disabled person's grant; if his Department will allow local authorities to approve the disabled person's grant in advance of the applicant employing a builder to construct the dwelling; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1159/99]

I recently announced significant improvements to the terms of the disabled persons grant scheme which is operated by local authorities, effectively increasing the maximum grant by 50 per cent from £8,000 to £12,000. In addition, the grant may now cover up to three-quarters of the cost of the works to private houses, compared to two-thirds previously subject to the maximum amount of the grant which is set by the local authority.

As part of the Government's measures to improve tax administration, the payment of grants, such as the disabled persons grant, by public authorities is conditional on certain details of the contractors C2 or tax clearance certificate being furnished. Therefore, a grant cannot be approved until these details in relation to the builder have been provided to the local authority.