Thursday, 8 March 2012
Dáil Éireann Debate
33. Deputy Gerry Adams asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to encourage local authorities to use land banks they have procured to provide social housing. [13083/12]
Minister of State at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Jan O’Sullivan): In terms of the delivery of social housing, the Government’s housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. The financial parameters within which we will have to operate in the coming years rule out a return to very large capital funded construction programmes by local authorities, even in circumstances where suitable land is in the ownership of those authorities. Nevertheless, the Government is committed to responding more quickly and on a larger scale to social housing support needs through a variety of mechanisms, including through increased provision of social housing.
Delivery of social housing will be significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing, but the Government is also committed to developing other funding mechanisms that will increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms will include options to purchase, build to lease, which could involve the utilisation of existing local authority sites, and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. There is also obvious potential, across a range of housing programmes, for the Government’s objective of sourcing and providing suitable residential units for use as social housing to be aligned with the commercial objectives of the National Asset Management Agency (NAMA).
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