Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Questions (20)

Catherine Murphy

Question:

20. Deputy Catherine Murphy asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the specific criteria and rationale used to determine the advancement of loans by the Housing Finance Agency which can adequately account for the extremely wide variance in total amounts advanced across local authorities; if he will account for the large increase in total loans advanced to County Mayo in 2012 compared with other parts of the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44805/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The elected members of a local authority have direct responsibility in law for all reserved functions of the authority, including authorising borrowing, and are democratically accountable for all expenditure by the local authority.

Local authority borrowing is subject to the provisions of the Local Government Act 2001; borrowing is a reserved function under Section 106 and requires the sanction of the appropriate Minister. Borrowing proposals, including overdrafts, must be submitted to the relevant Minister together with a resolution of the local authority members approving the proposed borrowing. All borrowing by local authorities is subject to the overall limits which are set by the Government from time to time in the context of the General Government Balance.

The HFA has two basic criteria when assessing a loan application from a local authority - a valid resolution of the Council of the applicant authority and sanction from my Department or such other sanctioning Department as may be involved.

Mayo Co Co received €32.8m in 2012 compared to €10.8m in 2011. In the case of the Mayo loans, as with all loans, the above criteria were satisfied. The HFA had total lending of €4.4 billion at 31 December 2012 with Mayo having a total of €109m borrowed, representing 2.45% of the HFA's lending.