Budget 2018 measures will help Cork County Council deliver on housing

The Government is allocating funding of €1.9 billion to national housing programmes that will meet the needs of 25,500 households in 2018.

Cork based Fine Gael Senator, Tim Lombard, said: “Every working day of the week next year there will be 98 households that have their housing needs met.

“Budget 2018 will see a total funding provision of €1.9 billion, an increase of 46% on 2017. A large portion of this funding (€1.14 billion) is for the delivery of almost 5,900 social homes through a range of construction and acquisition programmes.

“The balance of the funding will be used to add additional tenancies, and maintain existing ones, by funding the existing Rental Accommodation Scheme and the Housing Assistance Payment.

“This is great news for families here in Cork who will have a solution to their housing needs.

 “Cork County Council will have the funding available to increase housing supply where it is greatly needed here in Cork.

“To further increase supply the Home Building Finance Ireland (HBFI) has been created, and 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.

“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 to the Social Housing Current Expenditure Programme brings the total to €115 million, which will deliver an extra 4,000 social housing homes next year.

“The Housing Assistance Payment Scheme will also 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. This will stop the hoarding of development land here in Cork.

“Fine Gael is determined that everyone has an opportunity to have a home of their own, that’s why we’re committed to creating a functioning housing market. We are determined to create a long term, sustainable housing model that provides security for tenants, unlike the boom and bust that we have witnessed in the past.”