Dublin City Council is set to make a reduction of more than 50% in their capital investment budget for the next three years in a move that will see severe cuts made in funding for social housing and other facilities.
The council has drafted an infrastructure programme for each year from 2012-2014 totalling €897.8 million, less than half of the €1.859 billion capital budget for 2009-2011.
Housing and road programmes will suffer some of the largest reductions, with spending slashed by almost three-quarters and two-thirds respectively.
However, the council is increasing its budget for water supply and sewerage infrastructure. It is also investing in the expansion of the hugely popular Dublin bikes rental scheme, refurbishment of the Victorian fruit and vegetable market and Grafton Street area upgrade.
Funding for social housing, which has been the council’s largest area of capital spending, has fallen from €1.14 billion in 2009-2011 to just €353 million for the next three years, despite an acknowledgement by the council that housing need is increasing.
One-third of the housing budget has been allocated for the completion of the Ballymun regeneration scheme by 2014, leaving €236 million for social housing for the rest of the city. In 2009 the council planned an output of 4,772 social and affordable units over three years. For the next three years it plans to construct just 226 social houses. No affordable housing will be built following the Government decision to end the scheme.
Almost all of this housing will be in the estates which were to have been rebuilt by Bernard McNamara – St Michael’s, O’Devaney Gardens and Dominick Street – before the property collapse.
The number of houses the council plans to acquire will also be cut. In 2011 alone it bought 129 properties to accommodate people on the housing waiting list, including the homeless. For the next three years fewer than 175 units will be bought, the council said, and only if Government funding is made available. In the coming years the council will move more towards a role as an “enabler” of voluntary housing bodies it said.