Just over €5bn will be available for capital spending next year as part of an “unprecedented” housing budget, Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien has said.

Almost €7bn will be available to the Department of Housing, including €2.6bn for capital spending. Additional investment from the Land Development Agency and Housing Finance Agency lending will see the overall capital available up to €5bn.

Mr O’Brien said the capital funding was the “highest ever in the history of the State” and that it would “ensure we can continue to deliver new affordable homes for purchase and rent at pace”.

Around €1.9bn in capital funding would be provided to deliver 9,300 new build social homes in 2024.

A further €265m would be available to support the delivery of 6,400 affordable homes next year, while €242m would go towards homeless services and accommodation at a time of record numbers in emergency accommodation.

It also comes as the rent tax credit rose to €750, while a new tax relief will be available to landlords.

Mr O’Brien told a press conference that progress has been made in recent years, but the Government “will do more this year and the additional investment for 2024 will allow us to further build on our progress”.

“Some try to dismiss this progress, but whilst challenges remain the progress is real and it is happening,” he said.

Homelessness issue 

Amidst record homelessness in Ireland, with the number of children in emergency accommodation at its highest ever at just under 4,000, Mr O’Brien was asked if he was confident that these numbers would finally reduce next year.

The minister said that it is “our biggest single priority”, and pointed to the delivery of social homes now and into the future as key, as well as funding to support exits from homelessness.

“That’s my absolute desire [to see the numbers fall],” he said, adding that “thankfully we last year turned a corner” on the delivery of social homes.

He added that key schemes to support the delivery of housing and for people to buy and rent homes were working, and Budget funding would ensure these schemes continue.

Next year, we have the funding and focus to ensure that more homes will be built across the State for those who are looking to buy but we also have a Budget that will allow us to help the most vulnerable and assist those who need help the most.

Separately, in his Budget speech, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath set out measures around tackling the issue of vacant homes and unused land, with the vacant homes tax set to increase to five times the property’s existing basic Local Property Tax rate.

Reacting to the housing measures in the Budget, Labour leader Ivana Bacik said it had “plenty of rhetoric and very little substance”.

“It’s incredible that this Government think we should treat the taxation of working people differently to the income generated from rental properties owned as investments,” she said.

“It is fundamentally wrong that people paying rent will now be paying more tax on their income than landlords.”

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