I propose to take Questions Nos. 1364, 1391 and 1397 together.
Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, my Department has taken a number of measures to assist local authorities with the financial difficulties they are experiencing.
At the outset and to minimise cash flow challenges, my Department arranged for the early payment of Local Property Tax (LPT) to all local authorities. As a short term measure, my Department made €136m available to local authorities as cash flow support in early April, in order to ensure that vital services that local authorities deliver can be maintained. This support was comprised of the early payment of the Local Property Tax allocation ordinarily paid from the Local Government Fund in May and July.
On 2 May 2020, the Government announced that a waiver of commercial rates will apply to all businesses that have been forced to close due to public health requirements, from 27 March 2020, for a three-month period. The costs involved, estimated to be €260m, will be met by the Exchequer. My Department is currently preparing further guidance for local authorities on this initiative.
In order to support the local government sector generally, my Department will continue to keep local authority income, expenditure and cash flow generally under review and will continue to work with all local authorities, both collectively and individually.