Dáil Éireann - Volume 518 - 12 April, 2000
Written Answers. - Higher Education Grants.
Mr. Hayes Mr. Hayes
185. Mr. Hayes asked the Minister for Education and Science the plans, if any, he has to introduce a differential grant maintenance scheme for third level students who live in the Dublin area and have to suffer higher accommodation and living costs associated with Dublin; his views on the additional pressures on these students in terms of finding work to pay for basic commodities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11171/00]
Dr. Woods Dr. Woods
Minister for Education and Science (Dr. Woods): It is generally accepted that students are experiencing difficulties in finding good affordable accommodation. This difficulty is a subset of the general housing shortage which has been growing in recent years and is particularly acute in Dublin. In recognition of these difficulties and following consultation with third level colleges, the Government has introduced special tax incentives to encourage the provision of student rented residential accommodation in the 1999 Finance Act.
The availability of tax incentives in the past resulted in the provision of a significant number of student residences. As the tax relief will be available for expenditure up to 31 March 2003, the opportunity exists to create significant additional accommodation for third level students. As indicated in the programme for prosperity and fairness, the Government will be evaluating the impact of these tax incentives and will consider further action in the light of the results of the evaluation.
These tax incentives are intended to increase the availability of dedicated student housing and as such represent a targeted response to the underlying issue of an accommodation shortage, rather than an across the board increase in grant  levels which, at a considerable cost, would have no direct impact on helping students to compete in the rented accommodation sector.
In relation to the value of third level maintenance grants, I have previously indicated my intention to follow the practice of recent years and increase the grants in line with inflation, so as to ensure that the real value of maintenance grants is maintained.
Dáil Éireann 518 Written Answers. Higher Education Grants.