Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Ceisteanna (2774)

Richard Boyd Barrett

Ceist:

2774. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if the moneys saved following the transfer of recipients of rent allowance to HAP, leasing arrangements and RAS have then been transferred to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government; the organisation responsible for the latter payments; if so, the amount in each of the years since the commencement of the payments; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [33572/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Employment)

Rent supplement plays a vital role in supporting families and individuals in private rented accommodation, with the scheme supporting approximately 20,160 recipients for which the Government has provided €132.4 million for 2019.

The strategic goal of returning rent supplement to its original purpose, that of a short-term income support, has been primarily facilitated by the introduction of the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP). The “Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness (July 2016), reiterated in the “Housing First National Implementation Plan 2018-2021” (September 2018), is to provide 87,000 flexible housing supports through the HAP and Rental Accommodation Scheme between 2016 and 2021.

HAP has been rolled out on incremental basis since 2014 and as of 1st March 2017 has been available in all 31 Local Authorities (completing Action 2.3 of the Rebuilding Ireland - Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness).

Details of rent supplement recipients and expenditure under the scheme for the period from 2014 to date are provided in the attached tabular statement.

Rent supplement customer numbers have dropped significantly in the period from December 2014, (c.71,533) to June 2019 (c. 20,160). There are many factors contributing to this fall, including the improving economy. However, the most significant change in rent supplement policy has been the introduction of HAP. There are currently c. 48,600 active HAP tenancy arrangements.

The rental accommodation scheme (RAS) has also continued its operations in the transfer of rent supplement customers.

Rent Supplement: Recipient Numbers & Expenditure: 2014 to Present.

Year

Recipients

%

Change

Cost

€000

%

Change

2014

71,533

338,208

2015

61,247

(-14.4%)

311,059

(-8%)

2016

48,041

(-21.6%)

275,294

(-11.5%)

2017

34,378

(-28.4%)

230,566

(-16.2%)

2018

24,303

(-29.3%)

175,032[1]

(-24.1%)

2019

20,156[2]

(-17.1%)

[1] Provisional year end figure

[2] As at End June 2019

While allocations for Rent Supplement are agreed between my Department and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the annual estimates process, the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) and Rent Accommodation Scheme (RAS) estimates are the responsibility of the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government.

Question No. 2775 answered with Question No. 2642.