GRANTS FOR householders to make their homes more energy efficient will be scrapped from next year and replaced with a tax credit system.
The maximum value of the credit is set at €2,000. Householders previously could avail of grants in excess of €5,000.
The Environment and Local Government budget is taking a hit of 27 per cent from almost €2.2 billion in 2010 to just under €1.6 billion. The largest cuts are to investment in infrastructure, with the capital budget down by more than half a billion to just over €1 billion.
The largest element of capital funding, the housing fund, will bare the brunt of these cuts. Used for the provision of social housing, local authority housing regeneration, and grants for elderly or disabled people to adapt their homes, it has been cut by more than one-third from €880 million in 2010 to €520 million.
The cuts weigh heaviest in capital funding for the provision of new social housing, which will more than halve next year from €550 million to just €247 million.
Local authorities will see direct exchequer funding fall by 28 per cent from more than €226 million to €164 million. However, revenue from motor tax will mean councils will face a total Local Government Fund cut of 10 to 12 per cent.
Funding to the Environmental Protection Agency is being cut by 27 per cent to just under €20 million, and funding for heritage organisations such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, the Heritage Trust and the Heritage Council is down a total of 60 per cent to €22.5m. An Bord Pleanála is down just 2 per cent to €12.8m.