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Forde calls for decentralisation of stamp duty ceiling decisions

2 December, 2004

Councillor Killian Forde, Sinn Féin spokesperson for Finance on Dublin City Council has called on the Minister of Finance to legislate to allow local authorities set the bands for stamp duty. Cllr. Forde welcomed changes in stamp duty application in Wednesday's budget but believes the net result for first time buyers in the Dublin City Council area will all be eliminated within six weeks. Cllr Forde said:

"The Minister increased the ceiling on which first time buyers pay stamp duty to €317,000. Given the crisis with affordability and access to the market for first time buyers this is to be welcomed. However given that the average price of a house in Dublin is now €330,000 the change will merely increase demand, act as a cost driver so that many of the remaining eligible properties will be over the limit within six weeks‰.

"This 'one size fits all' approach to the application to stamp duty is misguided, inflexible and, in the case of Dublin, counterproductive.

Cllr Forde proposed that ceilings on stamp duty rates be set by Councillors in each local authority. His proposal recommends that Council's would receive half the stamp duty cost, the other half going to central government.

"The decision would be a resrved function of Councillors and should not be seen as an alternative revenue raising mechanism to offset the underfunding of local government. Local Authorities still need to be given proper fund-raising powers and responsibilities."

"In Kerry, Donegal or even Fingal council area a ceiling set at €317,000 for first time buyer exemption from Stamp Duty is generous. However in Dublin city it is simply too low, in my own constituency of Donaghmede a three-bed semi second hand home, suitable for first time buyers costs between €285,000 and €325,000, most of the properties on the lower end will soon extend beyond the ceiling. Within the Dublin City Council area a more suitable figure for this exemption would be €350,000. Councillors in the area know this and we are the best qualified to set the ceilings. I am calling on the Minister of Finance and the Minister with responsibility for Local Government to decentralise the decision making to those with the local market knowledge and interest working on the ground."ENDS

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