The Government recognises the urgency of Ireland’s housing needs and is making ongoing decisions to ensure we have the necessary supply, a Fine Gael TD has said.
Chair of the Oireachtas Housing Committee, Maria Bailey TD said: “Budget 2018 has demonstrated the commitment of this Government to delivering positive housing solutions.
“Housing is the biggest and most urgent Government challenge. Our population is growing and because of the crash in 2008, our house building fell almost 10 years behind. That’s why Fine Gael gave Housing its own ministry and Action Plan and are currently finalising a National Planning Framework, Ireland 2040.
“To further increase supply the Minister announced the establishment of Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI). He has allocated €750 million of the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund available for commercial investment in housing finance.
“HBFI will increase the availability of debt funding on market terms to commercially viable residential development projects whose land owners want to build homes, by making finance available at a lower rate.
“To get up and running quickly, HBFI will draw on the extensive skill and expertise in residential development funding that currently resides in NAMA,” Deputy Bailey said.
“The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund and NAMA are already supporting the commercial delivery of 30,000 houses and apartments over the period to 2021 and these additional funds have the potential to fund the construction of an additional 6,000 homes.
“The real way to tackle homelessness and to make housing more affordable for everyone is to increase housing supply. This budget will see an increase in funding for Homeless Services a further €18 million to over €116 million to ensure that emergency accommodation and other supports are available to those who need them.
“An increase of €31 million has been allocated to the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme bringing the total to €115 million. This will deliver an extra 4,000 social housing homes next year.
“The Housing Assistance Payment Scheme will be increased by €149 million in 2018, enabling an additional 17,000 households to be supported and accommodated in 2018 while we steadily increase our housing supply.
“Changes to the vacant site levy will mean developers need to get on with the task of developing lands urgently or risk seeing the levy they pay on their undeveloped sites increase dramatically.
“The message from Government to vacant site owners is clear – to have the levy lifted, they need to get on with developing your lands urgently.
“Fine Gael is determined that everyone has an opportunity to a home of their own, that’s why we’re committed to creating a functioning housing market, unlike the boom and bust that we have witnessed in the past.
“We are committed and determined to a long term, sustainable housing model that provides security for tenants,” Deputy Bailey said.