The Government's new housing policy statement Delivering Homes, Sustaining Communities, reiterates the Government's strong commitment to ensuring a sufficiency of housing to meet demand, particularly from first time buyers. Investment in infrastructure and streamlining of the planning system, has underpinned the strong supply response to the unprecedented demand which has arisen due to economic and demographic changes. 2006 saw record housing output with over 93,000 completions.
The housing policy statement and the National Development Plan 2007-2013 (NDP) also provide for a significant expansion of social and affordable housing to meet accommodation needs of households which are not served by the market. The NDP provides the resources — some €18 billion in total which will enable needs of some 140,000 new households to be met in this period.
These resources will be used to meet the needs of some 100,000 households seeking social housing support, by commencing/acquiring 63,000 new social homes in the period 2007-2013, through a combination of local authority, voluntary and co-operative housing and new units for the Rental Accommodation Scheme. Further households will benefit as they transfer to the Rental Accommodation Scheme with their existing landlords or from naturally occurring vacancies. Over the period 2007 to 2009 sufficient resources will be made available to commence/ acquire some 27,000 new units of social housing.
In addition over the period of the NDP some 40,000 households will benefit from affordable housing. 17,000 of these will be delivered in the first three-year period, in line with the agreement in Towards 2016.
To ensure that these programmes are delivered in a coherent and coordinated manner City and County Councils have put in place multi-annual Housing Actions plans which encompass delivery of social and affordable housing in their area, including Town Councils.
While it is a matter for individual local authorities to decide on the types of housing to be provided by them, having regard to the composition of their housing waiting lists, my Department continues to advise local authorities of the need to provide a reasonable mix of dwellings suited to the different kinds of households already on waiting lists and to plan their future programmes taking account of the estimated size and type of households likely to be seeking housing in the future.