Kelly welcomes additional funding to tackle housing need
Kelly welcomes additional funding to tackle housing need
In excess of €1.7 Billion being invested in Social Housing 2015-2016
€135 Million to be invested Community Programmes
The Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government, Mr. Alan Kelly and Ministers Paudie Coffey & Ann Phelan today (13 October 2015) welcomed the significant additional funding that will be available to tackle housing needs in 2016.
Speaking after Budget 2016 was announced, Minister Kelly said:
“I welcome the fact that investment in housing infrastructure has again been given priority in this Budget and that over 17,000 housing units will be delivered in 2016. Over 50% (€811m) of my Department’s 2016 budget will go directly to support a range of housing programmes, and the continued delivery of the Social Housing Strategy 2020. In addition some €112m funding will be provided directly by Local Authorities to meet housing needs.”
The Department’s Vote for 2016 is some €1.495 billion - €539m Capital and €956m Current. This compares to a total of €1.328 billion in 2015 - an increase of €167m or nearly 12% on 2015 and an increase of 83% on 2014.
The housing capital spend will come to €432m in 2016, up from €376m million this year; providing €56m extra capital spending. This will see the continued acceleration of local authority direct build and acquisition of properties. The number of housing units to be delivered through this mechanism will be over 1,000 which compares to 285 units as recently as 2014. Approved Housing Bodies also continue to play a vital role in meeting housing need and combined with local authorities’ activities the total number of units to be provided in 2016 will be over 1,500 – almost 2.5 times the 2014 output. The housing capital programme will also allow for some 1,500 additional vacant housing units to be brought back into productive use. “This year and next year more than €800 million will be spent on building, buying & refurbishing homes for people on the housing waiting lists. This is real investment that will make a difference to people’s lives. Contrary to what the opposition parties are saying, this funding is being and will continue to be invested in homes for families,” said Paudie Coffey, Minister of State at the Department of the Environment with Special Responsibility for Housing, Planning and Coordination of the Construction 2020 Strategy Current spending on housing will grow by €69m to €379m which will be used to finance increased local authority housing services, including through the Rental Accommodation Scheme, the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme and the Housing Assistance Payment (HAP In total, over 7,100 additional housing units will be delivered from a range of measures which, combined with a target of 10,000 for transfers to the Housing Assistance Payment, will deliver a total of over 17,100 housing units in 2016.
The Minister also stressed his determination to tackle homelessness.
“I am allocating a further €17 million for the specific purpose of addressing homelessness. The total amount available for this purpose in 2016 will be €70m – a 55% increase since 2014.The availability and supply of secure, affordable and adequate housing is essential in ensuring sustainable tenancies and ending long-term homelessness. I am also increasing the rent limits for the Homeless HAP Pilot in order to allow significant numbers of homeless families in Dublin to move out of hotel and emergency accommodation and find homes” Minister Kelly added.
The Minister confirmed that additional funding is also being provided under the Pyrite Remediation scheme with a total of €19m being made available under the scheme in 2016.
Additional funding is also being made available to support increased activity under the Mortgage to Rent Scheme, giving a provision of €17 million in 2016 to address the mortgage arrears challenge.
Significant resources are also being made available through the Department’s Vote to support the development of strong and vibrant local communities. €135m will be invested in Community programmes in 2016, which includes funding under the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP) and LEADER programme. In 2016, some 40,000 people will receive direct one-to-one labour market training and supports through the SICAP.
“SICAP is well placed to create opportunities and provide supports to ease the transition into meaningful employment for the harder to reach in the most disadvantaged areas in society. €46 million will be invested in 2016 to increase access to formal and informal educational activities and resources and to increase people’s work readiness and employment prospects,” said Ann Phelan, Minister for Rural Economic Development.
Funding will continue to be made available to support a range of initiatives in the community and voluntary sector, including support to strengthen and foster volunteerism and philanthropy as well as increased funding for Seniors Alert of 10%, which supports the provision of monitored alarms to enable older persons, of limited means, to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence.
Speaking about the new LEADER programme 2014-2020, which will assist projects that improve quality of life and promote growth and diversification of the rural economy, Minister Kelly said:
“LEADER is addressing many of the challenges facing rural communities, including through increasing economic activity and generating employment. It is a key multi-annual programme which will continue to be supported in 2016 with the provision of €40m.”
The Minister also welcomed the provision of funding for two new schemes in his Department - €30m in funding over 6 years under the new Village Renewal Scheme, with €5m to be provided in 2016.
“I am also providing €5m for a new scheme that will assist homeowners in addressing the issue of lead in their drinking water.”
Funding for libraries has also been increased by 83% for 2016.
In light of the importance of the haulage industry to our export led growth and to ensure that Ireland remains competitive, the rates of commercial motor tax on larger goods vehicles are being reduced.
Other areas of Department spend in 2016 include Water Services (€151m); Environment and Waste Management (€44m) and Fire Services capital investment (€8.2m).
DECLG vote now €1.495 billion, up from €1.328m – increase of €167m – 12.5% Housing Spend increases by 18% from €686m to €811m. Additional €56 million for capital programmes and €69 million increase in current spending. Total increase of €125m. In addition €112m will be provided directly by local authorities.
7,100 housing units to be delivered in 2016 through current and capital spending including the refurbishment of 1,600 vacant units.
3,100 Local Authority direct build, acquisition and refurbishments in 2016.
Homelessness services spend increases by 32% to €70m.
€17m (increase of €7m) for the Mortgage to Rent scheme to allow people stay in their homes.
Approximately 3,000 additional new housing units will be leased in 2015.
Community & Rural Development Provision will be €135 million for 2016.
Some 40,000 people who are distanced from the labour market will receive direct one-to-one labour market training and supports through the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP). €40 million funding for the Leader programme.
Motor Tax Changes The reduction will apply to all goods vehicles with an unladen weight exceeding 4,000 kg’s, and will take effect for vehicle licences taken out with a commencement date of 1 January 2016. The reductions are tapering, from a reduction of €4,295 for the heaviest goods vehicle band to a reduction of €43 annually for vehicles between 4,001 and 5,000 kg’s. The rate structure is also being simplified with 5 bands of motor tax ranging from the current level of €92 per annum for electric goods vehicles up to €900 per annum for all goods vehicles in excess of 12,000 kgs. The change will benefit the owners of some 29,000 goods vehicles.
SUMMARY OF KEY ISSUES
Leasing: Increased funding of €20m will allow local authorities to bring approximately 3,000 new leased units into operation in 2016.
Rental Accommodation Scheme (RAS): Funding of €135 million under the RAS will allow for 1,000 new RAS transfers in 2015.
Housing Assistance Payment: Funding is being increased by €24.5 million to €47.7million in 2016 in line with the expansion of the scheme which will assist an additional 10,000 families to secure suitable accommodation.
Capital Loan and Subsidy Scheme: The 2016 allocation will be used to make loan repayments in respect of projects already delivered or underway.
Traveller Accommodation and Support: €4.3m million funding will provide for Traveller Accommodation and Support Services.
Homeless: The increase in funding of €17 million will ensure that the increased demand for homeless services are effectively addressed.
Affordable Rental (Pilot): Provision of €10m for a new Affordable Rental (Pilot) scheme
Community and Rural Development: €135m is being provided under this programme. Some 40,000 people will receive direct one-to-one labour market training and supports through the Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP).
Seniors Alert Scheme: additional funding is being provided under the Seniors Alert Scheme which supports the provision of monitored alarms to enable older persons, of limited means, to continue to live securely in their homes with confidence. Funding will enable 10,000 monitored alarms to be provided.
Local Authority Housing: Total funding of over €180 million for the capital provision for local authority housing will deliver more than 1,000 new units through a programme of construction and acquisitions.
Capital Assistance Scheme (CAS): The provision of €76 million for CAS will ensure continued focus on meeting the housing needs of vulnerable groups with some 450 units to be provided for people with specific needs in 2016.
Mortgage to Rent: Allocation of €17 million will allow for the expansion of the scheme and assist in meeting the Government’s commitments and responses to the mortgage arrears position.
Traveller Accommodation: A provision of €5.5 million in 2016 will support the progression of a range of Traveller specific accommodation schemes.
Regeneration/Remedial Works: The 2016 provision of €85 million demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment to target the country’s most disadvantaged communities.
Energy Efficiency/Retrofitting: The 2016 provision of €70 million will allow for the continued upgrading of social housing stock providing warmer and more energy efficient homes for thousands of families.
Voids: Building on progress made in 2014 and 2015, a further 1,500 vacant units will be refurbished and brought back to productive use.
Private Housing Grants: Funding of €45 million will provide for some 8,500 grants in 2016 which will assist with adaptation works to enable older people and people with disabilities to remain living independently in their own homes for longer.
Pyrite Remediation Scheme: Funding of €19 million will be provided in 2016 to support activity under the Pyrite Remediation Scheme.
Lead Remediation Grant Scheme: €5m will be provided in 2016 towards a new scheme that will assist homeowners in addressing the issue of lead in their drinking water.
International Climate Change Commitments: €2m is being provided in 2016 towards the International Green Climate Fund.
Libraries: Funding for libraries is being increased with €2.75m available in 2016.
Leader: €40m is being provided in 2016 under the Leader programme. This programme will assist projects that improve quality of life and promote growth and diversification of the rural economy.