Sinn Féin spokesperson on Environment, Community & Local Government Brian Stanley TD has today outlined his party’s opposition to the government cuts in local government funding.
Speaking today at Leinster House, Deputy Stanley said, “Minister Hogan announced that he is withholding millions of euros of funding to local councils on the last day of the Dáil, a cowardly and underhanded move designed to avoid being held accountable.
“The Local Government Fund has already been cut from €999million in 2008 to €651million this year.
“The minister is cutting the funding to each council in line with the level of non-payment of his household charge, yet today this government will pay €600m to Anglo Irish, a defunct, zombie bank.
“The introduction of the household charge was a bad idea. It has proven to be as unworkable as it is unjust. The government could have made other choices. Funding and savings could have been made from one of the following options:
• Introduce a new third rate of tax of 48% on income earned by individuals in excess of €100,000. Raises: €410 million
• Abolish ‘Group relief’ availed of by companies to transfer losses to profitable companies and write down tax receipts. Raises: €450.3 million
• Cap all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum. Saves: €265m
“Last December the Department of the Environment told councils across the state what their 2012 allocation from the local government fund would be. Councils agreed their annual estimates on this basis. At no stage were councils told that this funding was dependent on the collection of the household charge.
“The coming weeks will give councils the first opportunity to meet and discuss these cuts. Sinn Féin will be tabling motions outlining our opposition to these cuts in all councils where we have representation.
“We are organising pickets and protests highlighting our opposition to the minister’s cuts. The first motion will be tabled at tonight’s meeting of Dublin City Council.”
Emergency Motion to be tabled at tonight’s DCC meeting:
In light of the impending financial crisis facing Dublin City Council and local authorities throughout this State, Dublin City Council calls on the Minister for Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan TD to reverse the cuts in the Local Government Fund and restore adequate funding for local democracy and the provision of Council services to our citizens and communities. We deplore the Circular from the Minister's Department to all local authorities announcing further reductions in the Local Government Fund and linking reductions of funding for individual Councils, including Dublin City Council, to the level of collection of the inequitable and uncollectible Household Charge. We call for the replacement of the Household Charge with reformed, equitable taxation based on ability to pay and we warn against the imposition of a further unjust charge based on the market value of homes and without regard to ability to pay.