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Minister O’Brien announces July Stimulus Fund

Published on Thursday, 23 Jul 2020
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Creation of more than 700 jobs

  • Extra €30m for refurbishment of social housing stock
  • Measures to help first-time buyers
  • Extra €30m for leakage reduction programme

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien has today (23 July, 2020) welcomed the publication of the July Stimulus Plan, which includes targeted measures to boost the social housing stock, to help first time buyers and to enhance the water leakage reduction programme. The measures included will see the creation of over 700 jobs.

In total, 2,000 social housing units will be targeted for refurbishment in order to be re-let to individuals and families, struggling with homelessness or on the social housing list, generating 360 jobs. The Help-to-Buy Scheme will be expanded for first-time buyers and up to 350 jobs will be created through the Irish Water leakage reduction programme.

Minister O’Brien said, “The July Stimulus is about economic recovery and looking after those most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a way to turbo charge our economy, secure local jobs, and giving a boost to those who need it most.

“The extra €30m which I have announced for refurbishments will accelerate the re-letting of 50% of the social housing stock that becomes vacant every year. It will make extra housing stock available quickly, as required for cocooning and isolation.

“It will also have a knock-on economic benefit by generating 360 jobs, providing further employment to the small local builders, carpenters, painters, plumbers, and electricians the length and breadth of the country that carry out these types of minor works.

“I want cash-strapped local authorities to maximise their scarce housing stock so they can concentrate on building more new homes. I will issue an immediate call for submissions to all 31 of the local authorities asking them to identify vacant social housing units requiring refurbishment in 2020.

“The expansion of the Help to Buy Scheme for new and self-build properties was a key commitment in the Programme for Government and I am delighted that this fund, which has already helped over 19,000 first-time buyers to purchase their own home, will be expanded. The maximum amount first-time buyers can claim will be increased to €30,000, thus helping thousands more to get on the property ladder.

“The €30m fund which I have allocated to the Irish Water leakage reduction programme is in recognition of the fact that Ireland’s leakage rate is not sustainable. It will lead to activity across all 26 counties addressing leakage, water scarcity and drought and allow for the immediate creation of up to 350 jobs.

“As we continue to face the COVID-19 challenge, additional measures must be taken in order to provide safe and secure homes for all our communities. I will be directing that all refurbishments are completed and homes let by the end of the year. Likewise, I will be directing Irish Water to avail of the entire fund and carry out leakage reduction works under it by the end of the year.