23 November 2016 – Expansión
Yesterday, the Minister for Development, Íñigo de la Serna, announced in the Senate that the State Plan for Housing and Refurbishment 2013-2016, which is due to expire at the end of this year, will be extended for another year. The Government is finalising a Royal Decree to avoid “the subsidies for housing being suspended from 1 January”, said De la Serna. Thanks to this extension, which the Council of Ministers will approve over the coming weeks, the number of families receiving subsidies of up to €200 to pay their rent will increase to 100,000.
The ministry was unable to provide details about how many recipients currently benefit from the Plan, but the initial objective was to cover the needs of 200,000 families. So far, it has not managed to help even half that number, but that is the aim for next year.
The commitment to subsidise rental payments instead of awarding social housing was very well received by all social agents, as well as by the opposition party. Through the State Plan, the Ministry of Development pays for between 33% and 40% of the monthly rent of households with incomes of less than €22,365 per annum who rent homes for less than €600/month.
During the Government control session in the Senate, the Minister revealed that this one-year extension will allow the Ministry of Development to allocate more than €321 million to rental and refurbishment projects in 2017. Moreover, almost €90 million will be contributed by the regional governments in the form of co-financing and €458 million will be provided through induced private investment, taking the total investment to almost €870 million.
“The extension of the term will not only help lots of families pay their rent, but also will continue to incentivise participation in the private sector and create business opportunities, which will result in the generation of employment and, therefore, also in new resources for the State”, said the Minister. In fact, next year, “35,000 homes will be refurbished or renovated”, which will create 13,000 jobs, said De la Serna.
In parallel, more than 70,000 families will continue to receive help with their mortgage payments to acquire social housing properties in 2017. Another €150 million will be allocated to that cause.
The Minister also announced that the Sectoral Housing Conference will be convened on 15 December with all of the autonomous communities, to start to prepare a State Plan for the period 2018-2021. De la Serna said that this will be “the fruit of consensus and dialogue” not only with the autonomous governments, but also with agents, associations and other players in the sector. (…).
Original story: Expansión (by Juanma Lamet)
Translation: Carmel Drake