Dáil Éireann - Volume 303 - 02 February, 1978

Written Answers. - Housing Grant Income Limits.

274. Mr. Keating asked the Minister for the Environment the present position concerning income limits in respect of grants for housing; and any changes which have taken place in these grants in the last 12 years.

Minister for the Environment (Mr. Barrett): The income limits governing eligibility for new house grants and the valuation restrictions in respect of reconstruction grants, introduced by the previous Government and detailed later, still apply to cases where valid applications for the grants were submitted to my Department and where the work in question does not qualify for the much more generous new house and improvement grants provided by the present Government. No income or valuation limits apply to the latter grants.

The following changes in housing grants have taken place in the past 12 years:

1. The maximum ordinary rate of new house grant was increased from £300 to £325 as from 1 October 1969.

2. The maximum reconstruction grant was increased from £140 to £200 as from 1 June 1972.

3. A scheme of grants, administered by local authorities, to assist in the adaptation of housing accommodation [606] to make it more suitable for physically disabled persons, was introduced on 1 February 1972. One half of the local authorities' expenditure, up to a limit of £400 per house was recouped by my Department. This recoupment limit was increased to £1,200 in the case of work commenced on or after 1 November 1977.

4. On 1 January 1976 the previous Government introduced an income limit of £1,950 a year for new house grants. A further £100 was also allowed for each dependent person maintained by the applicant, up to a maximum of £400. Where an applicant derived his livelihood solely or mainly from the pursuit of agriculture, the rateable valuation of all lands and buildings occupied by him could not exceed £60.

5. As from 12 January 1977 reconstruction grant applications were confined to houses the rateable valuation of which did not exceed maxima varying from £20 in city areas to £10 in rural areas.

6. A £1,000 grant for first-time owner occupiers of new houses was introduced with effect from 27 May 1977.

7. A new scheme of house improvement grants, which superseded the existing reconstruction, water and sewerage grants, was introduced with effect from 1 November 1977. The maximum combined State grant was increased from £275 to £950 (i.e. £600 for reconstruction and £350 for water and sewerage facilities).

8. In appropriate cases local authorities were empowered to pay supplementary grants in cases which qualified for new house, reconstruction and water and sewerage grants from my Department. No supplementary grants are payable under the new schemes of new house and improvement grants.