Government to cut local authority housing funds by a third

THE Government is to spend €325 million or a third less on local authority housing programmes in 2010 than it did in 2009, it has confirmed.

Last year the allocation for the various housing schemes stood at €1.2 billion.

Housing Minister Michael Finneran yesterday said the €877.5 million allocation for this year would include €391.5 million for the provision of local authority housing allowing councils to complete construction, acquisition or leasing of around 9,000 houses.

A department spokesman pointed out that while this figure is much less than last year, the money assigned to that area last year only accounted for the creation of 7,000 houses.

Of the rest of the money, €96m will be spent on a capital assistance scheme, €120m for the capital loans and subsidy scheme, €30m for Traveller accommodation schemes and €240m on a regeneration and improvement works programme.

Almost €10m of the total monies has been earmarked to provide support for the Towards Carbon Neutral Pilot Programme.

“The funding of almost €880 million I am providing today to local authorities will assist in providing good quality sustainable housing for families,” said Mr Finneran.

“While funding for construction of social housing is significantly less than last year, priority has been given to the leasing scheme while at the same time maintaining funding levels for voluntary housing and regeneration programmes.

“The funding remains a very significant pool of resources in support of local authority and voluntary/co-operative housing activities to meet the needs of individuals and their families.”

He said he wanted to reaffirm the importance of the long-term leasing scheme in meeting housing output targets “through a more efficient and effective use of available public resources”.

“Notwithstanding shrinking resources, this initiative has the capacity to deliver at least 2,000 new homes in 2010 with the potential to allow for a significant increase in social housing supply over the coming years.”

The minister said that the improvement works allocations includes €50 million to fund the continued regeneration of Ballymun and some €25 million is being allocated for the regeneration projects in Limerick. That allocation also includes almost €42 million for projects in Cork, Waterford, Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Sligo, Tralee and Dundalk.

He said in addition to the €240 million provided for improvement works, local authorities also have delegated authority to the use of proceeds from the sale of their dwellings under the Tenant Purchase Scheme to fund planned programmes of improvement works to dwellings in their stock.

“The allocations announced today for local authorities to spend on housing, including improvement works, regeneration, Traveller accommodation and voluntary projects is a very significant programme of investment in any circumstances and underlines the Government’s continued commitment to meeting a broad range of housing needs.”

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