Dáil Question - May 31, 2016
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance the level of take-up to date in each designated area under the Living City Initiative; and if he has received any assessment from his officials as to why the scheme has not been more successful in view of the ex-ante cost-benefit analysis that was carried out prior to its launch
REPLY | Minister Michael Noonan:
Application for the Living City Initiative (LCI) are only required to be made to the relevant local authority under the residential element of the scheme.
Applications to local authorities are not required to be made under the commercial element of the scheme and thus it is likely to be early next year before information on this aspect of the scheme will become available.
Based on information received from the City and County Councils to date, the number of applications received under the residential element per eligible city is as follows: Dublin 18; Cork 4; Limerick 0; Waterford 7; Kilkenny 2; Galway 2
The Initiative has only been in operation for just over a year, and take-up of the scheme is lower than anticipated considering up to 100% of relevant expenditure may be tax relieved. My officials are currently reviewing the LCI and considering potential changes to the scheme.
Any proposed amendments will be considered in the context of the Budget and Finance Bill.
May 19, 2015
Deputy John Deasy asked the Minister for Finance if he will increase the maximum floor area of eligible buildings under the Living City Initiative, in view of concerns that the cap of 210 square metres per project will exclude many pre-1915 properties within the designated areas.
REPLY (Minister Michael Noonan):
The Living City Initiative is a targeted tax incentive aimed at the regeneration of houses in the parts of the inner cities which are most in need of regeneration. The residential element of the relief was initially targeted at Georgian houses but the scope was later extended to buildings which were constructed before 1915 for use as a dwelling, following an independent ex ante cost benefit analysis by Indecon Economic Consultants.
Previous owner occupier and section 23 type schemes had a maximum floor area limit of 125 square metres. The Living City Initiative limit of 210 square metres is larger than previous schemes to take account of the fact that some pre-1915 houses tended to be constructed on a grander scale.
In addition, it is important to note that "house" includes any building or part of a building used or suitable for use as a dwelling. Many of the larger houses in the Special Regeneration Areas have been split into units, for example, there may be a commercial premises on the ground floor with a residential premises on the upper floors, or a house may be divided into a number of residential apartments. In that case, expenditure incurred on the unit that the owner occupies as his sole or main residence should qualify for relief where the necessary conditions are met.
As the scheme rolls out over the coming months, all aspects of it will be kept under review. It is important to note that I do not see this as a wide-spread Initiative, as it is targeted at regenerating those areas which are most in need of attention.