There will be €500m extra to support a new target of 50,000 homes for those on social housing waiting lists as well as €75m for new affordable housing initiatives.
“In Budget 2018, the total funding provision of €1.9 billion is an increase of 46% over 2017 and it will allow us to meet the social housing needs of 25,500 households,” said minister Eoghan Murphy. “A large element – €1.14 billion – is for the delivery of almost 5,900 social homes through a range of construction (5,000) and acquisition (900) programmes.” The balance of the funding will add additional tenancies and maintain existing ones. “It will also fund other important housing supports and services in relation to homelessness, regeneration and programmes to upgrade existing housing,” he said.
Murphy said that 3,800 homes will be built directly by the state, a further 1,200 will be Part V builds or rebuilt vacant homes, 900 homes will be delivered through acquisitions and a further 2,000 homes will be secured through long-term leasing arrangements. The remaining supports will be provided through the Housing Assistance Payment and the Rental Accommodation Scheme.
“Looking out to 2021, the additional €500m of capital funding will allow us to increase the overall ambition of Rebuilding Ireland from 47,000 to 50,000 social housing homes, as recommended by the Cross-Party Special Oireachtas Housing Committee last year,” he said. More than 30,000 of these will be directly built by the state.
Overall, the funding earmarked for the Rebuilding Ireland Action Plan is being increased from €5.35bn to over €6bn.
“We must always produce a certain percentage of the total housing output in a given year, directly by the state. That way we can be confident of protecting our most vulnerable citizens, even in a future time of crisis,” he said. “Every new home built, to buy or to rent, or for social housing, takes pressure off another part of the system.”
Engineers Ireland welcomed the increased capital investment, as well as an annoucement about incentives for renewable energy and electric vehicles. Director general Caroline Spillane said: “Engineers Ireland believes the Government should go a step further and establish a single infrastructure unit to coordinate capital projects across Government departments and State agencies. This approach would ensure the integrated and streamlined delivery of priority infrastructure projects which the country so badly needs.”
She added: “Recent opinion polls have shown that the public’s number one priority for Budget 2018 – by some margin – is increased capital investment in areas such as housing, transport, health and education.” She said that this reflects what Engineers Ireland has been hearing from its members across the engineering profession.