Friday, 20 July 2012

The Household Charge & the Coalition's attack on Local Democracy

I am publishing here in full the letter received today by all Dublin City Councillors telling us of the cuts to funding for the Council being imposed by Minister Phil Hogan. They have tied local government funding to the unjust and uncollectable Household Charge.

Funding for Dublin and other councils is being slashed for the rest of 2012 based on the extent of non-payment of the Household Charge in our Council area.

This is pure bully-boy tactics from the Fine Gael-Labour Government. An unjust tax which was brought in by central government, not by councils, the Household Charge is being boycotted by around half of Dublin City households. Because the figure for those paying includes property owners with multiple properties, the real proportion of actual home-owners is not reflected in the 66% payment figure for Dublin City.

Nearly €4.7 million is to be slashed from Dublin City Council's Budget by Hogan. This will hit vital services such as housing, environment, roads, community services etc. It is a disgraceful development and was only revealed this week by Hogan because the Dáil goes into recess for the summer and so the Fine Gael/Labour regime hopes to minimise opposition. It is exactly what we in Sinn Féin said would happen when the Household Charge was imposed. But this attack on Local Democracy must and will be opposed.

To each Member of Dublin City Council
20th July, 2012

Re:      Local Government Fund Allocations 2012

Dear Councillor

I attach a copy of Circular 09/2012.  This has obvious implications for the Budget for the current year and we will discuss this at the September Council meeting.

In the interim, we will review options to align spending commitments to funding resources.

Yours sincerely,

John Tierney
City Manager

Circular Fin 09/2012

Dublin City Council

LGF General Purpose Allocations 2012
A Chara,

I am directed by the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government to advise you of the approach to payments to be made in respect of the provisional General-Purpose Grant allocation from the Local Government Fund for Dublin City Council for the year 2012. 

In considering the approach to the 3rd quarter GPG payment, the Minister has taken the following into account:

  • the overall level of funds available in the Local Government Fund;
  • the level of household charge compliance achieved to date;
  • the position of individual local authorities in terms of scale and financial resilience; and
  • the objective of providing general purpose grants to authorities that enable them to provide a reasonable level of service to their communities.

The approach adopted in each case takes account of relative household charge compliance while not seeking to apply the full (current) level of shortfall.  While national and local information/compliance campaigns at political and official levels have been critical to the compliance levels achieved to date, this approach recognises that the administrative follow-up by individual local authorities (based on the data-sharing work) will now only begin to have a real bearing on the remaining compliance levels in local authority areas.  Furthermore, this allows for local authorities to progressively recoup their original GPG allocation through improved household charge compliance.
Details of the basis for the calculation of your revised grant are set out below.

Revised 2012 Allocations

The revised allocation for Dublin City Council consists of the following elements:

  • the original allocation of €54,805,761;
  • less €4,691,839 reflecting an adjustment based on the level of compliance achieved to date of  66%.

25% of the above deduction will be offset against the Q3 payment (see summary table below).  The final amount of General-Purpose Grants available for 2012 will be revisited and reviewed in Quarter 4 to take account of the financial position including progress on securing an increased household charge yield.

Local authorities are reminded of the requirement to achieve a balanced budget, taking into account the reduced income, and should reforecast expenditure for the remainder of the year to achieve balance.

Pension Related Deductions (PRD) reconciliation

An adjustment has been made to the Quarter 3 payment to reflect the final reconciliation of Pension Related Deductions (PRD) 2009 – 2011.

The adjustment in respect of pension related deductions is 376,632.

Quarter 3 payment

GPG Q3 (based on original allocation)
Less Household Charge adjustment
Less Advance

Pension related deduction adjustment
Actual Q3 payment

Any queries in respect of this letter should be made to Emma Reeves at or 053 911 7417.

Mise, le meas,

Colm Lavery
Principal Officer
Local Government Finance

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