Wednesday, 30 May 2001
Dáil Eireann Debate
186. Mr. Perry asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the plans he has to introduce grants for the renovation of derelict houses; if he will consider introducing a grant for first-time buyers who wish to purchase an older house in need of repairs; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16172/01]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. Molloy): I have no plans to introduce a generally available grant for first-time purchases of older homes or specifically for the renovation of derelict houses as any additional grant aid would, in present market circumstances, be likely to be absorbed in higher prices.
However, there are a number of targeted options currently available to assist vulnerable groups such as lower income households to  secure necessary improvement works to their houses. These include the local authority house improvement loan scheme, the disabled persons and essential repairs grant scheme and the scheme of improvement works in lieu of local authority housing.
In addition, under the Finance Act, 1998, residential tax incentives for the refurbishment and construction of rented dwellings in the rural renewal tax designated area of Longford, Leitrim and parts of Cavan, Roscommon and Sligo were introduced. These tax incentives were extended to owner-occupied housing under the Finance Act, 1999. The new incentives allow 100% of expenditure on the refurbishment of owner-occupied housing to be offset against the owner-occupier's total income over ten years. Similar relief on construction expenditure is available for owner occupiers, within the rural renewal tax designated area, at the rate of 5% per annum for ten years.
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