Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Ceisteanna (48)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

48. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Finance the steps he will take to alleviate the serious housing shortage at local authority direct build level; his views on whether in view of market trends that unless the housing crisis is resolved by way of urgent capital intervention and the likelihood is increased, demands for higher wages which in turn will lead to further crises in the future; if an emergency housing programme for local authorities will be approved; his views on the economic benefit of alleviating the pressure which forces persons on lower incomes into rent situations that they cannot afford; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21451/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Finance)

Housing policy is a matter for the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

The Government’s primary response to the current issues in the housing market is contained in ‘Rebuilding Ireland: An Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness’. Under Rebuilding Ireland, a total of 33,437 social homes will be built out to 2021.  A further 16,566 will be leased or acquired. Increasing supply is key to addressing the current difficulties in the housing market, and the direct construction of homes by Local Authorities is a key component of this. This action is possible due to the provision of significant capital funding. €1.14 billion of capital expenditure will be spent in 2018 and a total of €6 billion will be invested out to 2021. In total, there has been a 145% increase in Exchequer capital funding for new builds and acquisitions since 2016.

In addition to the funding provided to directly build more social homes, Budget 2018 contained a number of initiatives aimed at increasing the overall supply of new homes. An extra €75 million is being provided under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF), bringing total LIHAF funding to €275 million. When combined with the Local Authority matching contributions, this fund has the potential to provide approximately 5,000 homes by 2021. At Budget 2018, I also introduced measures that will increase the supply of private housing. Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) will boost the supply of debt funding to residential development. Utilising up to €750 million from the Irish Strategic Investment Fund, HBFI will fund new housing construction across all regions in the country.

In addition to the initiatives outlined above, the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government will shortly bring forward proposals in relation to increasing the supply of affordable homes. My Department will be engaging fully with the Department of Housing on these measures. The availability of suitable housing is a crucial component in our ability to attract investment. I will continue to work with all stakeholders across Government and the construction industry to increase the supply of such homes and maintain our international competitiveness.