Thursday, 7 November 2019
Ceisteanna ó Cheannairí - Leaders' Questions
Simon Coveney (Cork South Central, Fine Gael)
I would like to talk to the Deputy in a bit more detail about some of the problems she has just outlined. I am very familiar with HAP tenancies. I was a Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government when we saw a shift away from rent allowance towards HAP because it provided more security of tenure for tenants and also more security and consistency for landlords as they were dealing with local authorities for payments rather than directly with tenants. It also had more flexibility for tenants in terms of the support that local authorities could give. Last year, 17,926 people moved into HAP. It is a big part of social housing supports right now. We will see an extra 10,000 social housing units coming into the stock of social housing this year and over time we will see less reliance on the private rental market to accommodate people who cannot afford to find accommodation themselves and more reliance on providing them directly with social housing. As we build up our social housing stock, we will continue to rely on the private rental market. We have to try to implement a model that gives as much certainty to tenants as possible and as much consistency as possible to landlords too. That is what HAP attempts to do and does it reasonably well.
If there are delays taking place or there are problems in HAP that create vulnerabilities, in particular for tenants, I would be interested in hearing about them. The Government is not stuck to one approach. We are constantly adapting and amending and trying to improve social housing provision through all the different ways we do that. If there are details of problems in County Kildare, the Deputy can feed them through to me if she wants and I will certainly talk to the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Deputy Eoghan Murphy, and we will try to address it, if there is a genuine concern that needs a policy response.