Michael Noonan sets Budget date and defends mortgage proposals
THE next Budget has provisionally been set for October 14.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan confirmed the date as he defended the Government's latest proposals to boost the construction sector.
Mr Noonan said making it possible for more people to be able to buy houses would help drive demand and ensure builders start building again.
The Government this week floated the idea of a mortgage deposit insurance scheme for first-time buyers, dismissing suggestions it would lead to another property bubble.
"We think it's an idea worth exploring. It's to deal with supply. The builders will respond to people who want to buy houses," Mr Noonan said.
"If by guaranteeing part of a mortgage, there are more people capable of buying houses, that will drive supply. So the whole emphasis is to try and increase the supply of houses."
Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said the idea was to create a sustainable construction industry, and not create a return to the days of the property bubble.
But Mr Noonan stressed the Government was only exploring the issue at this stage, and said a full independent analysis would be sought.
"If you look at the mortgage guarantee schemes introduced in England, (they are) quite successful outside of London, but ran into difficulties in London, so we're not travelling blind," Mr Noonan said.
Mr Howlin said the Government was trying to ratchet up construction to a sustainable level, not a bubble level.
"There is no fear of us going back to a number of single policy items that would overheat the construction sector or any other sector again. It is to look at how to bring back a construction sector to a normal sustainable level of activity," he added.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said yesterday that the plan was to help young couples get on the property ladder and rejected suggestions it could lead to another property bubble.
Mr Noonan also said that he would like a new Secretary General for the Department of Finance in place by the second half of July.
It was announced earlier this month that current Secretary General John Moran would be stepping down.