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Written Answers. - Housing Grants.

Tuesday, 26 November 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 558 No. 1

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 455. Mr. Healy-Rae Information on Jackie Healy-Rae Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if he will reconsider the abolition of the new house grant in view of the fact it is having a devastating effect on young people buying or building their houses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23308/02]

 457. Mr. Gregory Information on Tony Gregory Zoom on Tony Gregory  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if the first-time buyer's grant will be paid to those who had put down a deposit on a home prior to 14 November 2002 but had not signed a contract at that time. [23333/02]

 461. Mr. F. McGrath Information on Finian McGrath Zoom on Finian McGrath  asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government Information on Martin Cullen Zoom on Martin Cullen  if his attention has been drawn to the significant housing problems in the country; and if the Cabinet will reconsider the decision to abolish the ?3,610 first-time buyer's grant. [23353/02]

Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): Information on Noel Ahern Zoom on Noel Ahern I propose to take Questions Nos. 455, 457 and 461 together.

The termination of the new house grant scheme, which was announced on 14 November 2002, arose from the necessity, in the context of the 2003 Estimates, for the Government to ensure a sustainable match between expenditure and resources, and to concentrate housing programmes on areas of greatest impact and social need. It is not proposed to reintroduce the grant.

In the context of terminating the new house grant, the Government has sought to ensure fair treatment first by ensuring that all applications approved or pending in my Department will, subject to the normal conditions of the scheme, qualify for grant payment. In addition, people who had already made commitments in the form of [322] signed contracts or by the pouring of foundations on or before 14 November 2002 have been given an opportunity to apply for the grant. The position of persons approved for a new house under the affordable housing or shared ownership schemes is also being recognised. In providing a grace period up to 4 December for cases such as these, first-time buyers who are at the most advanced stage of purchase or building are being facilitated as far as possible.

The payment of a booking deposit which is “subject to contract” does not constitute a contract and is, therefore, excluded from the above arrangements.


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