Funding of Local Government needs to be urgently reassessed

25 November 2020
  • Labour calls for reinstatement of €3million for a Local Area Discretionary Fund for allocation to local need and community initiatives.

Ahead of tonight’s Dublin City Council Budget 2021 meeting, the Labour Group on Dublin City Council is calling for the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage to urgently reassess the funding of local government.

Throughout COVID-19, local government has stepped up and played a much more prominent role in people’s daily lives through the provision of essential public services.

Yet, as the economic challenges of the pandemic continue to reverberate, local authorities across the country have been left in limbo with no details provided of how central government will assist local authorities facing deficits.

With this uncertainty and with challenges piling up, including the need to address our ongoing housing and homelessness crisis, build a more environmentally resilient city and tackle root causes of inequality, City Councillors have been left with no alternative but to pass an unimaginative budget for 2021.

Speaking ahead of the Budget 2021 Meeting, Cllr. Dermot Lacey, Labour Group Leader on Dublin City Council said:

“This pandemic has taught us the true value of public services. Parks, libraries and sporting facilities, to name a few, have offered a lifeline to people stuck within their 5km radius. Pedestrianised streets and the permissions for on-street furniture have effectively kept Dublin’s hospitality sector on life support.

“Yet, we are completely in limbo with no committed details from central government on how it will finance and assist local authorities in the roll out and provision of these essential services for the coming year.

“In September, so-called left parties refused to increase property taxes for wealthy homeowners resulting in the loss of more than €12million in Dublin City Council revenue. We now find ourselves rummaging down the back of the couch so that we can try and find €3 million to allow for a Local Area Discretionary Fund to be allocated for local needs and community initiatives.

“We need to urgently reassess how we fund local government by giving local authorities more direct control over how it spends the revenue it raises. We need to reform Local Property Tax, so that properties built or refurbished post-2013 are not exempt. The Labour Group, as a matter of urgency, is calling on the government to commit to reviewing this and taking steps so that we can continue to improve the services provided by local authorities”

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