To ask the Minister for Housing; Planning and Local Government the amount drawn down under the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund per annum to date; the number of affordable homes built; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The purpose of the Local Infrastructure Housing Activation Fund is to relieve key infrastructural blockages for the delivery of housing at scale. I have approved 30 infrastructure projects under the Fund at a cost of around €195 million, with an associated housing delivery of 20,000 units by 2021 and more will follow as the sites are fully built out.
The total LIHAF funds drawn down in 2017 amounted to €1.6 million. My Department is currently examining drawdown requests for Q1 this year.
The low level of draw-down reflects the stages that the infrastructure projects were at, where most were in the design, planning and tendering phases where costs are lower than at construction stage. I therefore expect a major increase in draw-down as local authorities move projects to construction.
While there was an underspend in 2017, funding for LIHAF is ring-fenced within the overall multi-annual housing budget. The LIHAF underspend in 2017 was diverted to other housing activities, ensuring that the funding available was fully applied to housing priorities; the underspend will be made good according as projects are advanced in 2018 and 2019.
LIHAF associated housing will start coming on stream as we progress the infrastructure; some sites will deliver housing in tandem with the infrastructure but other sites will require the infrastructure to be in place to allow proper access.
While I am anxious for the infrastructure and the housing to be delivered as fast as possible, I recognise that local authorities must observe proper design, planning and tendering procedures. My Department will continue to monitor progress on these sites and ensure that every effort is made to secure the timely delivery of the infrastructure and housing involved.
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