Tuesday, 10 February 2004

Ceisteanna (362)

Pat Carey

Ceist:

438 Mr. Carey asked the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government the amount of money advanced by his Department to all local authorities in the country under the improvement works-in-lieu of local authority housing for each year since its inception; the number of grants this represents for each year; the amount of money and the number of grants advanced to Dublin City Council over the same period; the changes which have been made since the scheme's inception in the way the weekly repayment amounts are computed; if the scheme represents a worthwhile intervention in the delivery of housing policy; his views on the difficulty or otherwise for participants of buying out of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3749/04]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government)

The amount of funding provided by my Department to local authorities for the improvement works in lieu scheme since the inception of the scheme in 1991 is set out in the following table:

Year

1991€m

1992€m

1993€m

1994€m

1995€m

1996€m

1997€m

1998€m

1999€m

2000€m

2001€m

2002€m

2003€m

Amount

0.085

0.269

2.539

2.939

1.921

2.896

3.809

5.564

4.377

4.945

5.790

8.760

8.333

Information relating to activity under the improvement works scheme for each local authority is published in my Department's quarterly and annual bulletins of housing statistics, copies of which are available in the Oireachtas Library. Information on the cost of each extension provided is not obtained by my Department as local authorities have delegated authority to undertake works which do not exceed a prescribed value without the prior approval of my Department. The current limit is €75,000.

The amount of funding provided to Dublin City Council under the scheme in the years 1994 to 2003 is set out in the following table. Details in respect of the years 1991 to 1993 are not available in my Department.

Year

1994€m

1995€m

1996€m

1997€m

1998€m

1999€m

2000€m

2001€m

2002€m

2003€m

Amount

0.100

0.032

Nil

0.110

Nil

0.270

Nil

0.276

1.625

1.676

The beneficiaries under the scheme are required to make repayments related to the applicants ability to pay in respect of the cost of the works over a 15 year period. These repayments are based on a formula which is designed to relate the differential payment to the cost of the work having regard to the average cost of providing a local authority house. The denominator in the formula for this calculation of weekly repayment was updated on 1 July 2002. In the event of the house being sold within the 15 year period after the work has been carried out, the owner is required to repay a proportion of the cost of the work to the local authority calculated in accordance with a formula.

The operation of the scheme is a matter for local authorities. I have encouraged local authorities to utilise the improvement works in lieu scheme and other social housing measures available in order to respond to the housing needs in their areas where such interventions are less costly than the provision of a new house. I am not aware of any particular difficulties in relation to the operation of the scheme.