Written answers

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Department of Housing, Planning, and Local Government

Departmental Funding

Photo of Seán CanneySeán Canney (Galway East, Independent)
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127. To ask the Minister for Housing, Planning, and Local Government when he will regularise the funding to support Galway County Council to bring their local government fund in line with comparable counties; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11922/23]

Photo of Darragh O'BrienDarragh O'Brien (Dublin Fingal, Fianna Fail)
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Across all schemes and funding sources, my Department provided €82.9 million in 2020, €85.9 million in 2021 and €83.3 million in 2022 to Galway County Council. Included in this is the unprecedented level of support provided by central Government to local authorities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Allocations to Galway also included additional one-off allocations to assist with funding pressures; that is €1 million in 2020 and €600,000 in 2021. There is also a similar allocation for 2023, provisionally in the sum of €2.75 million.

In line with the commitment in the Programme for Government, the Local Property Tax (LPT) allocation mechanism for 2023 is changed to allow for 100% of the estimated yield to be retained locally within the local authority area where it is collected. This is being done on the basis that those counties with a LPT yield lower than their baseline, which includes Galway County, will continue to be supported via annual equalisation funding. Local authorities will continue to receive, at a minimum, an amount equivalent to their baseline. All equalisation funding will now be met by the Exchequer, which requires an increase in such funding from €34.3 million in 2022 to €118 million in 2023, a significant level of support for the local government sector from Government.

As previously indicated, a review of the baseline funding of local authorities is now underway. A working group has been established that includes key stakeholders from the local government sector, and I am committed to completing this review in time for 2024 LPT allocations. It is acknowledged that the circumstances of local authorities vary considerably from one another in terms of geographic area, population, population density, service needs, and indeed the ability to raise their own income locally. It is also acknowledged that factors such as population have shifted considerably in recent years and that a review of the funding baselines is now required. The process will include consultation with representatives of our locally elected council members and other relevant stakeholders.

Finally, it should be also be noted that any funding requests for the sector in the context of the baseline review must be agreed with the Department of Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery and Reform, and will only be considered within the parameters of the national fiscal and budgetary situation, and the competing priorities at a national level. That said, while working within these constraints, it is intended that this review will be comprehensive, and take into account the overall funding position of Galway County Council, and all other local authorities equally across the sector.


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