Murphy Eoghan Murphy welcomes €2.6 billion Housing Budget

Housing

  • €2.63 billion – 11% increase on 2019 and highest investment in housing by any Government in a single year
  • Social housing needs of 27,517 households to be met in 2020
  • 11,167 new homes will be added to the stock of social housing through build, acquisition and long-term leasing
  • We will build 7,736 more social housing homes – more build homes than in any other year this century
  • 5,500 adults and their children will exit homelessness
  • €45 million will facilitate energy efficiency improvements to social housing homes
  • Increased funding to €17.5 million for the Residential Tenancies Board and local authority rental inspections and to implement reforms for the short-term letting sector
  • €130 million is being provided for the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, with a second call for proposals to be made shortly
  • €59 million to adapt the homes of up to 12,000 older people and people with a disability
  • €1.3 billion investment in water services
  • €156 million contribution to the Local Government Fund

Eoghan Murphy, T.D., Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government today welcomed the increase of funding of over €250 million for his Department in 2020.

With a budget of over €2.6 billion in housing alone, this investment will see the social housing needs of over 27,500 additional households being met in 2020, of which in excess of 11,000 will have their needs met in a home provided by a local authority or Approved Housing Body.

Addressing Homelessness

A critical focus of 2020 activity will continue to be on prevention and the delivery of services for those experiencing homelessness. An increased allocation of €166 million will address the increased demand for emergency homeless services and will support more than 5,500 adults and their children to exit from homelessness to a home.

It will enable the continued delivery of family hubs to minimise the use of hotels for families who experience homelessness. It will also increase prevention activity to support individuals and families at risk of homelessness and will enable local authorities to move rough sleepers and long-term users of emergency accommodation into homes under Housing First. Significantly, it will facilitate the continued work of the Inter-Agency Group established by Minister Murphy, including the delivery of a new €30 million detoxification and drug treatment centre in Dublin city centre, which will be funded under the Department’s Capital Assistance Scheme.

Affordable Housing

Budget 2020 will also see increased funding for the Serviced Site Fund.  This scheme for subsidised housing will increase to €126m in 2020, making thousands of homes more affordable (at least 6,200 overall affordable homes will be delivered with support from this scheme, with 3,200 homes already approved).

The funding being made available under the Serviced Site Fund will be additional to:

  • €60 million in Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund investment in 30 major public infrastructure projects, which will support the delivery of almost 20,000 new homes across public and private sites.  Over half of these will be either social housing homes or private homes sold at a price which is discounted on the open market;
  • the Land Development Agency and its ambitious targets in this area including the potential to deliver approximately 3,000 more affordable homes on its portfolio of sites, in the near term; and
  • the new Cost-Rental projects that are being progressed and, with the help of the European Investment Bank, the development of a new policy framework to allow the roll out of the Cost Rental model at scale and on a national basis.

Rental Sector

Following on from the significant reforms to the rental market, additional resources for the RTB have been secured so that they can fully enforce compliance with tenancy protection measures and the restrictions in Rent Pressure Zones.  A further €2 million has been secured for the Board for 2020 to enable more recruitment as well as development of systems and organisational changes to ensure that the legislation introduced this year is fully implemented and having the desired effect.  This funding will also enable the annual registration of tenancies, which will further improve our understanding of the rental market. Funding for the RTB has risen from €4.4 million in 2018 to €7 million in 2019 and will increase to €9 million in 2020.

The quality of rental accommodation is also critical to the success and sustainability of the residential rental sector, and an additional €1.5 million has been secured in funding for local authorities to achieve their inspection targets under the Strategy for the Rental Sector.  Inspection rates have increased considerably over 2018 and 2019, and this additional funding will help build on this achievement, with the long-term goal of achieving a 25% annual inspection coverage rate by 2021.

Funding of €2.5 million is also being provided to support local authorities in the implementation of the new planning legislative reforms for the regulation of the short-term letting sector.

Other important housing delivery and supports

Funding is also being provided for other important housing supports and services in relation to homelessness, regeneration and programmes to upgrade existing housing (energy efficiency improvements, adaptation grants, housing for Travellers, pyrite, etc.).

Supports that will be funded through the increased resources under Budget 2020 include –

  • Funding of €20 million will be provided for the implementation of a new scheme to support necessary remediation works to dwellings in Donegal and Mayo affected by defective concrete blocks.
  • In addition, a further €20 million will fund the remediation of some 300 additional dwellings under the pyrite remediation scheme.
  • Funding of €10.7 million for the Repair and Leasing Scheme will allow local authorities and Approved Housing Bodies to provide financial assistance to property owners to remediate over 150 vacant private homes so they can then be leased for social housing.
  • €23 million will support the continuation of the Mortgage to Rent Scheme and will allow for at least 400 additional households to be supported to remain in their own homes.
  • A further 1,000 social homes will be improved under the energy efficiency programme in 2020 through funding of €25 million.
  • In addition, a further €20 million, derived from the proceeds of the Carbon Tax, is being provided towards a new programme of deep retrofitting of social housing stock in the midlands.
  • The National Regeneration programme, which targets some of the country’s most disadvantaged communities, will be supported through funding of €72 million in 2020.
  • Funding of €10.5 million will support the operational costs of the Housing Agency during 2020 and support the Agency in its role in the delivery of housing services and supports.

Brexit

As part of preparations for Brexit, and to ensure that manufacturers, distributors and importers of construction products placing products on the Irish market are fully compliant with EU regulations post Brexit, a funding provision of €0.5 million is being made available in 2020 to support increased monitoring and compliance by local authorities.

Other Areas of Activity

Budget 2020 also means significant progress across the other areas of the Department.  In total, next year will see nearly €1.7 billion available for the Water Services, Local Government and Planning Programmes, as well as Met Éireann.

Water Services

In the Water area, capital and current funding to Irish Water will amount to nearly €1.2 billion in 2020, including revenue and capital funding in respect of domestic water services.

There will also be capital funding of €25 million in 2020 (+€2m) for the Multi-Annual Rural Water Programme, which runs from 2019 to 2021.  In addition, €11million is being provided for investment in Water Quality  to ensure enhanced environmental compliance, and €8 million will be available for Developer Provided Infrastructure to secure the progressive resolution of housing estates with problematic developer-provided water services infrastructure.

Local Government

Turning to Local Government, 2020 will see a contribution from the Department’s Vote to the Local Government Fund of €156 million. This will provide significant support to the local government sector, including assistance towards increased pay/pensions costs arising under national pay agreements and resources for important local government initiatives across the country.

There will also be an increase of €1.3 million in capital investment in fire and emergency services, bringing the total to some €12.5 million in 2020.

Planning

The main provisions in this area in 2020 include the following:

  • €130 million is being provided for the Urban Regeneration and Development Fund, with a second call for proposals to be made shortly.
  • €17.5 million is being provided towards the cost of the activities of the Land Development Agency (LDA) in 2020, ahead of its expected capitalisation through ISIF following the enactment of the relevant legislation.
  • Some €0.5 million in increased funding is being provided for the operational budgets of An Bord Pleanála and the Office of the Planning Regulator, as part of measures to enhance the effectiveness of the planning system.  In addition, the capital budget of the Board will increase by some €0.7 million, while a further €0.6 million is being provided to fund additional activities by the Department on marine spatial planning and environmental planning.

Other Agencies

There will be significant increases in the resourcing of other agencies to meet increased operational costs and investment needs: Ordnance Survey Ireland (+€2 million); the Valuation Office (+€3.5 million); and the Property Registration Authority (+ €1.3 million).