The government’s tax incentive scheme aimed at encouraging the regeneration of city centres and their respective central business districts has failed to live up to expectations with just 33 residential applicants expressing an interest so far.
The Living City Initiative was launched in May 2015 with the aim of bringing “life back into the heart” of the country’s cities by offering tax relief on the refurbishment or conversion of certain buildings.
Take-up of the scheme has proven remarkably low, with just 33 residential property owners applying for the tax breaks.
Eighteen of the applicants are based in Dublin with just just 15 spread across the other five cities.
Seven applications have been received from Waterford-based homeowners with four from applicants based in Cork and two each from Galway and Kilkenny.
No applications have been received from Limerick.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan said take-up of the scheme has been lower than expected.
Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath, who requested the release of the figures, said while the scheme’s intended purpose was to be welcomed it had been “a major disappointment” and suggested it should be “flexible enough” to accommodate landlords looking to renovate derelict properties as well as owner occupiers.
As well as the residential element, there is a commercial element which provides for tax relief over a seven year which is capped at €200,000 per project and the details of which won’t be known until early 2017.
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