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Living City Initiative

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 26 September 2017

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Ceisteanna (71)

Joan Burton

Ceist:

71. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Finance the estimated cost of extending the living city initiative to Drogheda and Dundalk; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [40258/17]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

I am advised by Revenue that there are no data available in respect of potential qualifying premises, or the likely additional uptake, to estimate the cost of extending the Living City Initiative scheme to Drogheda and Dundalk.

It should be noted that the Special Regeneration Areas for the Living City Initiative were designated following consultation with the relevant city councils and an independent review by a third party advisor. Specific criteria were set down in respect of the areas that should be included within the remit of the Living City Initiative which were required to be taken into account by the relevant city councils when putting forward the proposed Special Regeneration Areas for each city. In particular, Special Regeneration Areas should be inner city areas which largely comprise dwellings built before 1915, where there is above average unemployment and which demonstrate clear evidence of neglect, dereliction and under-use.

Officials in my Department reviewed the Living City Initiative in 2016 in consultation with the relevant councils and the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. On foot of that review, a number of changes were brought forward to the scheme in Budget 2017 in order to make the initiative more attractive and effective. The principal change extended the residential element of the scheme to landlords, who are now able to claim the relief by way of accelerated capital allowances for the conversion and refurbishment of property, which was built prior to 1915, where such property is to be used for residential purposes. In addition, the requirement for a pre-1915 building to have been originally constructed for use as a dwelling in order to qualify for the residential element of the Initiative was removed. The floor area restriction for owner-occupiers has also been removed, while the minimum amount of capital expenditure required for eligibility for relief, under all elements of the scheme, was also amended and must now only exceed €5,000. The possibility of extending the special regeneration areas was considered, but it was decided that such a change would dilute the incentive's potential impact on the originally targeted areas and that it would be better to get it working effectively before considering any further extension of the areas eligible.

The review was included in the Report on Tax Expenditures (October 2016) that was published on Budget Day.

Question No. 72 answered with Question No. 67.
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