Wednesday, 28 September 2022
Financial Resolutions 2022 - Financial Resolution No. 6: General: Financial Resolution (Resumed)
I welcome the opportunity to speak on budget 2023, which is a significant package with an €11 billion intervention to try to help families, support pensioners who are worried about heating their homes, support families with the weekly shop and, critically, keep vulnerable jobs so we have a record level of employment in the economy.
I will move on to areas that are my responsibility. The housing adaptation grants were significantly increased to try and support people to live in their homes independently, especially people with disabilities. We have a significant programme of work that will continue in 2023.
The sum of €27 million has been provided to support the Traveller community, as well as €20 million in increased capital funding, which is an 11% increase. During my tenure, all the Department’s capital funding has been spent, working in conjunction with the Minister and the Minister of State, Deputy Noonan. It is very important that we try to keep up the momentum that we developed through Covid-19 to support the community and implement the expert review, which we are doing.
We have some €333 million in the Local Government Fund, an increase of €108 million. We have included a number of support mechanisms to stand by local authorities as financial emergency measures in the public interest have been unwound and a number of national pay agreements proceed. We want to support them in realising the funding and ensure they will not fall short in the delivery of services. Right throughout the pandemic, local authorities operated the community call with 48 hours’ notice and provided more than 1,000 services to citizens. Incredible work was done on the ground. We are ready to support local authorities. We also have a €60 million fund for other supports that will happen during the year. I am aware that 2023 will be a very challenging year for the sector and we need to have a resource base to stand by it.
I chair the planning and advisory forum, which is reforming the planning and development legislation and ensuring that it is stress-tested and fit for purpose. There is a significant increase in funding across the planning headlines, with 22% for An Bord Pleanála, to continue the programme of reform and to ensure that it is fit to deliver the €165 billion of public infrastructure and capital funding with which the Government is going to transform communities in the next decade.