Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Questions (1364, 1391, 1397)

Seán Sherlock

Question:

1364. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the measures which will be taken to alleviate funding deficits in local authorities due to the Covid-19 restrictions; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6573/20]

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Cian O'Callaghan

Question:

1391. Deputy Cian O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the measures being taken to provide funding for local authorities for lost income from commercial rates, parking charges and other sources of income due to the current Covid-19 crisis; the length of time the measures will be in place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6991/20]

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Richard Boyd Barrett

Question:

1397. Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if a commitment will be given to each local authority that all funds lost to the authorities due to the pandemic will be covered by central Government and not impact on other grants and local authority funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7014/20]

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Written answers (Question to Housing)

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.