State Pension (Contributory) Eligibility

Ceisteanna (642, 643)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

642. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which she expects to be in a position to address the pensions issue for persons who have gaps in their contribution record for whatever reason with a view to ensuring the availability of a payment; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8436/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

643. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which she expects to be in a position to address the pension concerns of women that have taken time off from their employment to rear their families and subsequently gone back to work with the result of having an insufficient profile of contributions to qualify for the State pension; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8437/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 642 and 643 together.

In January 2018, I announced the Government Decision to introduce a new interim Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to the calculation of State Pension (Contributory) for pensioners born on or after 1 September 1946, who were awarded state pension (contributory) under the post Budget 2012 rate bands.  This approach, which includes generous provision for homecaring periods, will benefit many such pensioners, especially those who took time out of the workplace for caring purposes.  The required primary legislative provisions are contained in the Social Welfare, Pensions and Civil Registration Act 2018, enacted on 24 December 2018.  All the necessary regulatory and system changes have now been made to allow the increased payments to begin.

My Department is now reviewing the pension payments of approximately 91,000 pensioners who were awarded less than the maximum rate of pension since September 2012.  Given the number of pensioners involved, this work will take a number of months to complete.  My Department will start issuing the outcome of reviews and the first increased payments this week.  Any increased payments will also include arrears to the 30th March 2018, or the pensioner’s 66th birthday if later.  The Department is using information it already has to complete these reviews.  However, in quite a number of cases, additional information is required from the pensioners concerned about gap periods in their social insurance records and my Department will be in touch with each of those pensioners individually to get that information. 

In the longer-term, the Government intends to introduce a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims from 2020 onwards (TCA2020).  This is in keeping with the National Pensions Framework and with the Government's Roadmap for Pensions Reform.

I launched a public consultation on the design of the full TCA to be introduced from 2020 on the 28th of May to which a wide variety of stakeholder groups were invited.  A number of workshops were also held on the day to elicit views and feedback.  All Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing in Leinster House by my officials shortly afterwards.  The consultation was open for over 3 months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations.  Those submissions outlined the views of respondents on a number of issues, including the number of years required for a full pension, as intended as part of the consultation process.

I have recently been provided with an analysis of the views submitted in the consultation.  Once I've fully considered this analysis, I intend bring a proposal to Government setting out the details of the scheme.  When the Government has agreed the approach to be taken, I will initiate the work required to introduce this reform.  I cannot, at this point, pre-empt the Government decision regarding the full details of the new scheme.  However, I can confirm that the model will include provision for homecaring periods.  People will be informed of the details of the scheme as soon as possible, following the Government decision.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Exceptional Needs Payment Data

Ceisteanna (644)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

644. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of exceptional needs payments made in each of the past five years to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8438/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Under the supplementary welfare allowance (SWA) scheme, the Department may make a single exceptional needs payment (ENP) to help meet essential, once-off expenditure which a person could not reasonably be expected to meet out of their weekly income.  An urgent needs payment (UNP) may be made to persons who may not normally qualify for SWA but who have an urgent need which they cannot meet from their own resources or where an alternative is not available at that time. 

In total €38.8 million has been provided for ENPs and UNPs in 2019.  The tabular statement below shows the number of ENPs and UNPs made in the years 2014-2018 and to date in 2019.

I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Tabular Statement

Number of ENPs and UNPs 2014-2019

Year 

Number of Payments

2014

107,100

2015

101,600

2016

100,100

2017

103,500

2018

112,500

2019 (End January)

9,400

Pensions Data

Ceisteanna (645)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

645. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the number of old age pensioners in receipt of a pension in each of the past five years and to date in 2019; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8439/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

The information requested by the Deputy is detailed in the following tabular statement. Recipient numbers for schemes for the period 2002-2018 inclusive have also been published online in excel format at welfare.ie.

Tabular statement

Year

State Pension Non Contributory

State Pension Contributory

2014

95,570

346,420

2015

95,179

361,725

2016

95,221

377,062

2017

95,140

394,378

2018

95,263

411,660

January 2019

95,041

413,065

Widow's Pension Eligibility

Question No. 648 answered with Question No. 601.

Ceisteanna (646, 647)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

646. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her plans to address the issue of persons that are divorced in other jurisdictions and subsequently married here that are unable to qualify for widower's pension due to the non-recognition of a foreign divorce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8440/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

647. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the basis on which some divorcees that have divorced abroad are legally entitled to enter into a legal marriage contract here which presumably recognised their entitlement to marry but at a later date are refused a widow's or widower’s pension on the basis of non-recognition of the divorce; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8441/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 646 and 647 together.

To qualify for a widow(er)’s or surviving civil partner’s (contributory) pension, the surviving spouse must be deemed, under Irish State Law, to be the legal widow(er) of the deceased.

The legislative provisions pertaining to the recognition of foreign divorces outside the State are set out in Section 5 of the Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986. Responsibility for this legislation lies with my colleague the Minister for Justice and Equality.

In accordance with that Act, a foreign divorce will be recognised in this State, if one of the parties to the divorce was domiciled in the country granting the divorce when those divorce proceedings were initiated. If neither party was domiciled in the country granting the divorce when the proceedings were initiated, the foreign divorce cannot be recognised here. One of the criteria in establishing a domicile of choice would be that the person intended to reside permanently , or at least indefinitely, in the jurisdiction of the state granting the divorce.

In determining domicile for social welfare purposes, an applicant is afforded the opportunity to make available to my Department any evidence that either party to the divorce was domiciled in the state granting the divorce at the time the divorce proceedings were initiated.

Where the foreign divorce is not recognised, any subsequent marriage cannot be recognised. In such a case a person cannot be deemed, under Irish State Law, to be the legal widow(er) of the deceased. Consequently, (where the subsequent marriage cannot be recognised), there is no entitlement to widow(er)’s contributory pension.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Question No. 648 answered with Question No. 601.

Social Welfare Overpayments

Ceisteanna (649, 650)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

649. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the manner in which investigations into overpayments are carried out will be reviewed to ensure strict adherence to due process and natural justice; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8444/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

650. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the extent to which due process and natural justice remains paramount in the context of dealing with social welfare recipients, the cases of which have come under review; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [8445/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 649 and 650 together.

My Department is committed to ensuring that the principles of due process and natural justice are followed in all claim investigations and decisions.  This applies equally to decisions at initial claim stage and when claims are subsequently reviewed.   The Department’s guidelines on Decision Making and Natural Justice are published on the website - www.welfare.ie.  This message is reinforced through guidelines, bulletins and staff training.

As part of the process of finalising a decision, the deciding officer or designated person (in the case of the administration of payments under the Supplementary Welfare Allowance provisions), is required to engage with the person concerned and offer them the opportunity to provide additional information in support of their claim.  In addition, the customer may seek a review or may appeal any decision made under the Social Welfare Acts to the independent Social Welfare Appeals Office.

If there is a particular case that the Deputy is concerned about, he should bring it to my attention and I will ask my officials to examine it.  

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.

Commencement of Legislation

Ceisteanna (651)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

651. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to commence the remaining sections of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018 in particular section 8, in view of the fact it is holding up roadworks to access forests, grant payments and the supply of timber to sawmills; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7677/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Section 4 of the Planning and Development Act 2000, as amended, provides for the general provisions in respect of exempted development, being development works not requiring planning permission. Supplementary detailed provisions in relation to exempted development are provided for in the Planning and Development Regulations 2001, as amended.

Currently, the construction of forest roads and ancillary works is exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission except where such works involve the provision of an entrance from a public road, in which circumstances, planning permission is required.  Section 8 of the Planning and Development (Amendment) Act 2018, which is not yet commenced, amends section 4 of the Act of 2000 to provide that the construction of forest roads and ancillary works are exempt from the requirement to obtain planning permission, except where such works involves the provision of a forest entrance on a national road.

When this section is commenced, new forest entrances on public roads, other than national roads, will no longer require planning permission, but will be subject to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s statutory consent system for the control of forestry activities as provided for in the Forestry Act 2014.  The commencement of this section is dependent on necessary supporting regulations, including a minor amendment to the exempted development provisions in the Planning and Development Regulations 2001.  In addition, relevant amendments to the Forestry Regulations 2017 need to be made by my colleague, the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which I understand are at an advanced stage.  It is intended to commence this new provision once the necessary amending regulations have been finalised.

Water Services

Ceisteanna (652)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

652. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the position regarding local authority water services workers and Irish Water; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8066/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Since 1 January 2014, Irish Water has statutory responsibility for all aspects of water services planning, delivery and operation at national, regional and local levels. Irish Water has entered into service level agreements (SLAs) with each local authority for the provision of water services.  Staff members working under these arrangements remain local authority employees while continuing to perform key water services functions with local authorities acting as agents of Irish Water.  Staffing arrangements are an operational matter for Irish Water and local authorities within the context of the SLA arrangements currently in place.  

Irish Water now intends to fully integrate its operations and end the current operational arrangements for the delivery of water services through the service level agreements with local authorities. In this context, on 19 September 2018, I received a report from the Director General of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in respect of a process of engagement that was undertaken at my request with the parties involved in the transformation programme for Irish Water, those being Irish Water, ICTU and relevant affiliated unions, local government management and my Department.  The discussions with the parties have advanced on the basis that the current SLAs remain in place until such time as an alternative is agreed.  

In response to the WRC report, I have asked the parties to engage in a process to work towards the development of a stable structural and operational framework for the future. This engagement, through the WRC, is to commence in the coming weeks.

Water Services Infrastructure

Ceisteanna (653)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

653. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if he will address matters in relation to the case of a person (details supplied). [7708/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The matters at issue in the correspondence are the responsibility of Cork County Council in relation to compliance with environmental legislation and of Irish Water in respect of connection to the public waste water network. I, as Minister, have no operational role in relation to either of these matters and cannot involve myself in individual cases.  

It may be helpful to note that Irish Water has established a dedicated team to deal with representations and queries from public representatives. The team can be contacted via email at

oireachtasmembers@water.ie or by telephone on a dedicated number, 1890 578 578.

Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (654)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

654. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans for increasing housing supply in the South Dublin County Council area; the timeframe for same (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7891/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Increasing housing supply and dealing with homelessness is, and will remain, a top priority for the Government until such time as annual housing supply returns to the levels required. In that regard, through a concerted and sustained effort across Government, our comprehensive Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan is having a real impact.

Statistics from the Central Statistics Office show that over 18,000 new homes were built in Ireland last year, an increase of 25% on 2017. In terms of social housing, the level of new build activity has increased eight-fold since 2015, the year before Rebuilding Ireland was launched, reaching some 4,250 homes last year.

Details of the social housing construction programme, broken down by local authority area, including for South Dublin, is set out in the Social Housing Construction Status Report which is published on a quarterly basis. The report covering the period up to end Quarter 3 of 2018 is available on the Rebuilding Ireland website at the following link: http://rebuildingireland.ie/news/minister-murphy-publishes-quarter-3-social-housing-construction-report/. The report to end Q4 of 2018 will be published shortly.

Furthermore, South Dublin County Council, is progressing a major housing project, encompassing 975 new homes, on a 72 acre site at Kilcarbery, Clondalkin. Almost 300 of the homes will be for social housing purposes with a further 100 social housing homes being provided under a Public Private Partnership (PPP) on adjacent land. The project is due to commence on site later this year.

I will shortly be issuing social housing targets for 2019 to all local authorities, including to South Dublin County Council. Progress against these targets will be published on a quarterly basis giving visibility to all stakeholders on the delivery of social housing in each local authority area.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (655)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

655. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question Nos. 272 and 273 of 7 February 2019, the funding provided to approved housing bodies under each scheme (details supplied) in each of the years 2011 to 2018, in tabular form. [7893/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

The funding provided to local authorities in respect of housing programmes delivered in partnership with Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) for each year over the period 2011 to 2018, is set out in the following table. 

Housing   Programme

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

Total

 

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

€m

Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS)

80.65

54.99

37.03

38

34.3

36.69

58.04

38.04

377.74

Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF)

120.88

55.68

35.25

13.37

4.45

4.82

7.96

0.4

242.81

Social Housing Current   Expenditure Programme (SHCEP)

63.73

48.23

25.36

15.91

10.18

5.13

2.44

1.5

172.48

AHB Mortgage to Rent (MTR)

4.38

3.02

1.8

0.78

0.38

1.8

 

 

12.16

Communal Facilities

0.27

0.11

0

0.2

0.76

0.43

0.97

2.28

5.02

Capital Loan & Subsidy Scheme (CLSS)

67.78

66.7

55.33

80.28

54.8

69.14

68.68

60.94

523.65

Specifically in relation to the number of social housing homes provided by AHBs, the following table provides details of additional AHB delivery across all delivery streams over the period 2011 to 2018. 

 

Capital Assistance Scheme(CAS) & CLSS

Capital Advance Leasing Facility CALF

AHB Leasing*

Total AHB delivery

2011

745

-

115

860

2012

677

-

209

886

2013

211

-

174

385

2014

357

-

539

896

2015

401

392

523

1,316

2016

331

566

272

1,169

2017

427

1,269

634

2,330

2018

485

2,329

414

3,228

*AHB Leasing includes CALF up to 2015; AHB Mortgage to Rent; AHB Leased Part V.

Approved Housing Bodies

Ceisteanna (656)

Bríd Smith

Ceist:

656. Deputy Bríd Smith asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of housing units provided for social housing and by an approved housing body for other accommodation needs in each of the years 2011 to 2018 in schemes in circumstances (details supplied). [7894/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Statistics in relation to the number of social housing homes that have been delivered by local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies (AHBs) under the Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS), Capital Advance Leasing Facility (CALF), AHB Mortgage to Rent Scheme (MTR) and Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme (SHCEP), are published and available on my Department's website at the following link:

http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.  

Specifically in relation to the number of social housing homes provided by AHBs, the following table provides details of additional AHB delivery across all delivery streams over the period 2011 to 2018.  Final outputs for 2018 will be published shortly.

Year

2011

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

2018

Total additional AHB units delivered- all delivery streams

860

886

385

896

1,316

1,169

2,330

3,228

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (657)

Eoin Ó Broin

Ceist:

657. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of standard and priority allocations refused by social housing applicants for each local authority in 2017 and 2018; and if the figures will be provided as a percentage of total allocations for each council. [7907/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Detailed data of the kind sought is not available in my Department as the management of the letting of social housing homes is a matter for individual housing authorities in the first instance. However, from engagement with local authorities, it is estimated that there are up to 2,000 refusals of offers of social housing across the country each year.

Home Loan Scheme

Ceisteanna (658)

Fiona O'Loughlin

Ceist:

658. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the length of time applications for the Rebuilding Ireland home loan scheme are taking to be processed in each county council area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7952/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

My Department does not routinely collect the information the Deputy is referring to.  However, for the purposes of a review of the operation of the scheme being undertaken by my Department, a request was made towards the end of last year, to a number of local authorities, for amongst other things, information regarding processing times for the Rebuilding Ireland Home Loan scheme.

Based on the information from those local authorities and the Housing Agency with regard to its assessment of applications, it is estimated the average time it took to process applications last year was seven weeks.  

This is in line with the expected timeframe of 6-8 weeks as set out on the RIHL website.

Social and Affordable Housing Funding

Ceisteanna (659)

Éamon Ó Cuív

Ceist:

659. Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government further to Parliamentary Question No. 595 of 29 January 2019, if projects for Galway city have been approved under the serviced sites fund 2018; if so, the details of the projects; if proposals from Galway City Council are under consideration; if so, when a decision will be made in respect of the proposals; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8041/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

On foot of a first call for proposals under the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF), which issued to the 4 Dublin Councils, Kildare, Meath, Wicklow, Louth and Cork County Councils, and Cork and Galway City Councils, I announced approval in principle for ten projects, with a total estimated cost €43 million, in December 2018. These ten projects will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.  I expect infrastructure works on these projects to begin as soon as possible and delivery of affordable homes from early 2020 onwards.

While the ten projects did not include projects in Galway, five other projects submitted under the first call for proposals are still under active consideration, one of which is for Galway City Council’s lands at Bóthar an Choiste, Castlegar. My Department is working with Galway City Council to progress this project.

A second call for proposals will issue shortly, which will provide an opportunity to Galway City Council to submit further proposals for funding under the SSF, as appropriate.

Rental Sector

Ceisteanna (660)

Charlie McConalogue

Ceist:

660. Deputy Charlie McConalogue asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the details of proposed regulations on a company (details supplied); if there will be exceptions made for rural tourist areas that are not in rent pressure zones; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8055/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Under Action 18 of the Strategy for the Rental Sector, a Working Group was established, involving representatives of all major public stakeholders with a policy interest in short-term lettings, to develop guidance in relation to planning applications, changes of use relating to short-term lettings and to examine the need for new regulatory arrangements.  Proposals under consideration by the Working Group have been aimed at facilitating short-term letting of accommodation within permanent residences, known as homesharing, while protecting the existing stock of residential property in areas of high demand.  

Having considered the Working Group's report as well as the recommendations in the report of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Housing, Planning and Local Government on short-term lettings, I announced plans to introduce a “one host, one home” model in areas where there is high housing demand.  

Under the proposed new arrangements, homesharing will continue to be permissible for a person’s primary residence. In addition, an annual cap of 90 days will apply for the renting out on a short-term basis of a person's entire home where it is their primary residence, with such short-term lets being restricted to periods of 14 days or less at a time.  Under these arrangements, people who wish to avail of the proposed new planning exemptions to use their own home for home-sharing or limited short-term letting purposes will be required to register this with their local planning authority.  

Where a person owns a second property and intends to let it for short-term letting purposes, they will require planning permission to do so unless the property already has planning permission to be used for tourism or short-term letting purposes. Planning permission for a change of use to short-term letting can be sought and it will be up to each local planning authority to consider such applications, based on guidance that will issue from my Department, taking account of housing demand pressures in the area concerned and other relevant factors such as cumulative impacts.  

It is important to note that these proposed changes will not affect the operation of holiday homes as typically understood, or longer-term flexible lettings which are provided for those coming to Ireland under employment contracts.  

It is intended that the proposed new planning changes will come into effect on 1 June 2019, to allow property owners sufficient lead-in time to prepare for and adapt to the proposed new laws. In addition to the making of revised draft exempted development planning regulations, which are being progressed, amendments to primary legislation will also be introduced which will underpin and strengthen the new proposals.  This element of the changes proposed is currently being developed and details will be published in due course.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (661)

Niamh Smyth

Ceist:

661. Deputy Niamh Smyth asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of houses built by local authorities in counties Cavan and Monaghan from 2013 to 2018 and to date in 2019; the number planned to be built in 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8204/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Details of the number of houses built and acquired by local authorities, including Cavan and Monaghan County Councils, in each of the years 2013 to end Quarter 3 of 2018, are published and available on my Department's website at the following link: http://www.housing.gov.ie/housing/social-housing/social-and-affordble/overall-social-housing-provision.  

Details in respect of Quarter 4 of 2018, will be published shortly. Similar details for 2019 will be published on a quarterly basis.

Social and Affordable Housing Data

Ceisteanna (662)

John Curran

Ceist:

662. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of affordable houses to be provided in Dublin city and county in 2019; the way in which the scheme will operate; the estimated price of the affordable houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8238/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

Affordable housing, for purchase or cost rental, is being targeted for delivery through a range of measures overseen by my Department, including direct delivery from State land supported by the Serviced Sites Fund (SSF); delivery under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund (LIHAF) and delivery by the Land Development Agency (LDA), which was established late last year.  

Under the SSF, €310 million is available from 2019 until 2021, to fund facilitating infrastructure, on local authority sites, to support the provision of over 6,000 affordable homes.  I issued approval in December 2018 for funding for 10 infrastructure projects costing €43 million, which will support the delivery of 1,400 affordable homes.  Seven of these projects are in Dublin, with the potential to deliver over 1,250 new affordable homes.  Infrastructure works on these projects will begin as soon as possible and  the delivery of affordable homes is anticipated from early 2020 onwards.  

LIHAF will also yield an affordable housing dividend, with some 2,350 affordable homes being facilitated on sites benefiting from LIHAF funding, while a further 5,600 homes will benefit from a LIHAF-related cost reduction.  In addition, the LDA is actively pursuing the development of an initial tranche of 8 sites yielding 3,000 homes, at least 30% of which will be affordable homes.  

Affordable housing for purchase will operate in accordance with the provisions of Part 5 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, while cost rental will initially be implemented on an administrative basis.  The target grouping will be single applicant households earning up to €50,000 per annum and dual applicant households earning up to €75,000 per annum.  In relation to affordable homes for purchase, the Part 5 arrangements allow for a discount from market of up to 40%, with the discount being held as an equity stake by the local authority until subsequently bought out by the household or captured on resale.  The price of individual homes will be determined on a project by project basis.

Social and Affordable Housing Provision

Ceisteanna (663)

John Curran

Ceist:

663. Deputy John Curran asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of applications for funding received by local authorities under the single step approval scheme (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8239/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

There are currently 19 local authority social housing construction projects that have been or are being advanced through the single-stage approval process, 3 of which have now been completed. This process, presently, covers projects with an all-in budget up to €2 million and up to 15 homes. The details referred to by the Deputy in the context of a single stage approval process are currently being examined in the context of a review of the Public Spending Code.

It should be noted that most of the time spent by local authorities in advancing a new social housing construction project arises from activities such as design, planning, procurement and engagement with contractors. These elements apply equally to projects whether advanced under the single or the four-stage approval processes.