Local Authority Housing Waiting Lists

Questions (177, 178, 179)

Robert Dowds

Question:

177. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of families on the housing list in each of the local authorities (details supplied). [45364/13]

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Robert Dowds

Question:

178. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of private rented accommodation units that are available in each of the local authorities (details supplied). [45365/13]

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Robert Dowds

Question:

179. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the extent to which private landlords are excluding families on local authority housing lists from consideration for housing in each of the local authorities (details supplied). [45366/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 177 to 179, inclusive, together.

My Department does not hold information on the number of households on local authority waiting lists as this figure fluctuates continuously as households on the list are allocated housing and new households apply for housing support.

In May 2013 under Section 21 of the Housing (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2009, all housing authorities were directed to provide a summary report of social housing assessments carried out in their areas and the data submitted by housing authorities are currently being analysed. A report on the assessment findings will be published by the Housing Agency in the near future. The report will provide an important insight into the level of need for social housing support across the country. As this is the first summary of housing assessments to be carried out under the 2009 Act, the results will not be directly comparable with previous statutory needs assessments.

Although my Department publishes a wide range of housing related statistics, it does not hold information on the number of private rented dwellings that are available to let. Information on registered tenancies by county and by Dublin postcode district is available from the Private Residential Tenancies Board at www.prtb.ie but again this does not address availability.

As regards the extent to which private landlords are excluding families on local authority housing lists from consideration for housing , my Department is not aware of any research or studies that have been conducted in this area.

Local Authority Housing Provision

Questions (180)

Robert Dowds

Question:

180. Deputy Robert Dowds asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his views on whether there is a growing housing crisis in the greater Dublin area especially for those on council housing lists; the extent of the problem and the way he will emerge from this problem. [45367/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I directed all housing authorities to prepare a summary of social housing assessments carried out in their areas as at 7 May 2013. The data submitted by housing authorities are currently being analysed and once verified will be collated and a report published by the Housing Agency. This information will provide an important insight into the level and type of need for social housing support across the country.

The current assessment is the first to be carried out since the commencement of the Social Housing Assessment Regulations on 1 April 2011, which introduced a standardised system for assessing applicants for social housing support, including revised basis of need criteria. The results will not therefore be directly comparable to the results of the last assessment carried out, as at 31 March 2011, which found that there were 98,318 households on local authority waiting lists. The full results of this assessment are available on my Department's website www.environ.ie and the Housing Agency's website www.housing.ie.

The Government's housing policy statement, published in June 2011, clearly identifies that the priority for Government will be to meet the most acute needs of households applying for social housing support. I am determined to ensure that the social housing programme optimises the delivery of social housing and the return for the resources invested. To achieve this, it is essential that we tailor the use of available Exchequer supports to prevailing conditions and explore the full range of solutions to address housing needs.

Delivery of social housing continues to be significantly facilitated through more flexible funding models such as the Rental Accommodation Scheme and leasing, and the Government is also committed to developing other funding mechanisms to increase the supply of permanent new social housing. Such mechanisms include options to purchase, build to lease and the sourcing of loan finance by approved housing bodies for construction and acquisition. In addition, my Department and the Housing Agency are engaged with NAMA to ensure continued delivery of housing units for social purposes.

In spite of the current challenging circumstances, almost 70% of the budget for the Department will go directly to support housing in 2014 with an investment of over half a billion on a range of programmes. Meeting social housing need within the available resources will necessitate smarter and more innovative approaches in order to maximise output. In 2014, I will continue to focus the available resources towards the most vulnerable and disadvantaged sectors of the community.

Motor Tax Collection

Questions (181)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

181. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government his plans to review legislation regarding commercial vehicle tax (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45374/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

The operation of the motor tax system is kept under regular review. The position for many years has been that in order to be taxed as a goods vehicle, a vehicle must be constructed or adapted for that purpose and must be used solely in the course of trade or business. Under section 2 of the Finance (Excise Duties) Vehicles Act 1952, if a vehicle is used in a manner that would attract motor tax at a higher rate, tax becomes payable at that rate. Accordingly , if a goods vehicle is used in a private capacity it must, like all other private vehicles, be taxed at the appropriate private rate of motor tax.

Seniors Alert Scheme Issues

Questions (182)

Brendan Griffin

Question:

182. Deputy Brendan Griffin asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the number of persons with landlines connected to personal panic alarms; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [45378/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

My Department manages the Seniors Alert Scheme which encourages and assists the community's support for older people by means of a community-based grant scheme to improve the security of people over 65 years of age. The Scheme is administered by local community and voluntary groups with the support of my Department.

The aim of the Seniors Alert Scheme is to support independent living for those over 65 who live alone or who live with a person who is also over 65 years of age and of limited means. A key element of the Scheme is the provision of funding for a socially monitored alarm which supports this independence. My Department has only approved applications for personal monitored alarms connected to a landline. From 2003 to date, in excess of 80,000 beneficiaries have received grants under the scheme.

Local Authority Funding

Questions (183)

Barry Cowen

Question:

183. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a breakdown by county of the local government fund general purpose grant allocations and final draw-downs in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. [45400/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

General purpose grants are my Department's contribution towards meeting the cost to local authorities of providing a reasonable level of services to their customers.

The information requested is set out in the tables below which detail the total general purpose grant allocations and final general purpose grant payments from the Local Government Fund for all local authorities in each county. The allocations for 2010 and 2011 reflect income from pension related deductions which was collected and retained by local authorities.

Table 1 - General purpose grant allocations by County from the Local Government Fund 2010 to 2013

County

2010

2011

2012

2013

-

Carlow

13,052,513

11,659,271

9,865,448

9,826,750

Cavan

19,057,097

17,268,005

14,854,931

14,745,113

Clare

16,913,007

15,338,891

12,372,506

12,159,289

Cork

80,062,339

71,568,486

56,166,379

53,795,875

Donegal

41,482,713

38,610,158

32,869,501

32,667,843

Dublin

177,483,982

158,221,861

118,005,053

113,290,760

Galway

45,483,346

41,164,039

34,775,191

33,796,527

Kerry

31,155,831

28,201,886

23,073,286

22,238,923

Kildare

27,741,406

25,950,930

21,822,765

22,244,748

Kilkenny

21,101,616

19,087,909

16,379,600

16,309,147

Laois

16,823,589

15,143,352

13,189,788

13,070,064

Leitrim

14,489,435

13,479,217

11,809,261

11,952,743

Limerick

34,319,130

30,994,565

25,651,934

25,933,791

Longford

15,005,245

13,862,073

12,126,650

12,318,890

Louth

21,514,636

19,284,802

15,928,387

15,502,375

Mayo

38,527,684

35,138,739

30,415,727

30,134,270

Meath

28,946,385

26,950,195

22,864,713

22,472,343

Monaghan

17,469,505

16,104,582

14,022,824

13,983,408

Offaly

17,404,185

15,934,486

13,711,364

13,564,713

Roscommon

20,110,463

18,490,254

15,967,965

15,828,208

Sligo

19,283,451

17,894,726

15,659,616

15,584,848

Tipperary

48,545,024

44,157,076

38,229,570

37,971,172

Waterford

30,521,544

28,149,265

23,820,851

24,264,808

Westmeath

21,797,165

20,082,314

17,313,127

17,287,004

Wexford

25,060,333

23,081,588

19,708,352

19,217,103

Wicklow

26,648,377

24,181,327

20,395,212

19,839,289

Table 2 - General purpose grant payments by County from the Local Government Fund 2010 to 2013

County

2010

2011

2012

2013

-

Carlow

11,921,250

10,817,411

9,609,458

9,826,750

Cavan

17,655,857

15,988,124

14,450,581

14,745,113

Clare

14,473,283

12,902,124

12,336,865

12,159,289

Cork

66,552,694

61,095,683

54,956,413

53,963,353

Donegal

37,761,835

35,462,317

31,616,582

32,822,572

Dublin

140,534,617

128,137,487

116,233,737

113,375,580

Galway

41,023,771

37,242,344

34,026,884

33,796,527

Kerry

27,337,324

25,037,960

22,755,081

22,238,923

Kildare

24,628,985

23,372,951

21,328,091

22,244,748

Kilkenny

19,343,430

17,432,726

15,990,212

16,309,147

Laois

15,583,946

13,819,010

12,752,890

13,136,013

Leitrim

13,588,994

12,480,094

11,597,455

11,952,743

Limerick

30,352,884

27,240,686

25,098,628

25,933,791

Longford

13,852,495

12,993,934

11,808,277

12,318,890

Louth

19,243,211

17,284,945

15,616,952

15,548,027

Mayo

34,877,551

32,810,065

29,899,530

30,134,270

Meath

26,795,657

24,459,917

22,309,091

22,580,768

Monaghan

15,955,495

15,167,470

13,541,630

13,983,408

Offaly

16,119,274

14,497,447

13,345,006

13,686,361

Roscommon

18,508,006

17,051,277

15,521,073

15,828,208

Sligo

17,653,955

16,186,298

15,403,304

15,584,848

Tipperary

44,800,579

41,098,307

37,415,561

37,971,172

Waterford

27,321,845

25,615,689

23,264,415

24,264,808

Westmeath

20,206,571

18,717,046

16,936,827

17,287,004

Wexford

22,376,390

21,127,486

19,155,737

19,217,103

Wicklow

24,314,451

21,723,093

20,136,035

19,839,289

Local Authority Funding

Questions (184, 185, 186)

Barry Cowen

Question:

184. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government if he will provide a county breakdown of the local government fund general purpose grant allocations in 2014. [45401/13]

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Barry Cowen

Question:

185. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the mechanism that will be used to equalise revenue across local authority areas in 2014 following the full introduction of the property tax. [45402/13]

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Barry Cowen

Question:

186. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government the time frame for the introduction of variable property tax rates in local authorities; and when local authorities will retain 80% of revenue collected. [45403/13]

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Written answers (Question to Environment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 184 to 186, inclusive, together.

The local government funding model will change considerably in 2014. Under the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, commencing in 2014 the Minister for Finance will pay into the Local Government Fund an amount equivalent to the Local Property Tax paid into the Central Fund during that year; this revenue will be allocated to local authorities from the Fund. In addition, the establishment of Irish Water and its financial relationship with the local government sector will have a considerable impact on local authority financing.

The Government has indicated an intention to move to 80% retention of all Local Property Tax receipts within the local authority area where the Tax is raised. The establishment of Irish Water presents local government with significant organisational and financial challenges in 2014 and, in this context, it has been necessary to defer defining a certain proportion of the proceeds of the Local Property Tax to be retained in each local authority until 2015. This approach allows maximum flexibility in allocating Local Property Tax in 2014 with the priority to support those local authorities with weaker funding bases. The 2014 Local Government Fund General Purpose Grants will be announced in due course.

Under section 20 of the Finance (Local Property Tax) Act 2012, a local authority may, as a reserved function , resolve to vary the rate of the Local Property Tax within its functional area by a maximum of +/-15%. This power will be available to local authorities effective from 2015, as the relevant sections of the Act will come into operation on 1 July 2014.

Section 20 of the Act requires that, in varying the rate, a local authority must take account of its financial position, its income and expenditure , and of the financial effect of the varied rate on the economy of its functional area, including on those persons who will be liable to pay the Local Property Tax. Section 20 also provides that the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government may make regulations, including in respect of public consultation requirements prior to the variation of the rate of the Tax. I will give consideration to the making of such regulations in advance of the coming into operation of section 20 of the 2012 Act.

I expect the Local Property Tax to have multiple benefits, including a more sustainable and resilient system of funding for local authorities and therefore a sounder financial footing for the provision of essential local services; greater local scope for financial decision-making concerning service provision - in particular, the inclusion of the local variation mechanism from 2015 will further increase the autonomy of local authorities; and a strengthening of democracy at local level with a more active relationship between local authorities and local electorates. A stronger democratic relationship and clearer lines of accountability can only have a beneficial impact on service provision from the perspective of the service user.