DEERING calls for Fairer Top-up Contribution from the Equalisation Fund.

18th July, 2016

Carlow Fine Gael TD., Pat Deering, has called for a fairer distribution of the Equalisation Fund. He was speaking this week in Dáil Éireann in the Topical Issues Debate which he submitted to highlight the difficulties been experienced by Carlow County Council as they begin the process of agreeing their budget for 2017.

Deputy Deering explained; “80% of all Local Property Tax (LPT) collected is retained locally. The remaining 20% of the tax take goes into what is called the Equalisation Fund. This figure could be as high as €100m in any given year. This fund is then distributed to the smaller counties to ensure that no county council is worse off than they were under the old General Purpose Grant allocation scheme.

“Carlow County Council collects €3.85m LPT of which €3.08, is retained locally under the 80% rule. We receive a further €2.27m from the Equalisation Fund giving us a total of 5.35m. Roscommon and Sligo receive €9.11m and €9.99m respectively while their populations is not much bigger than Carlow’s and Leitrim, with a much smaller population receives a total contribution of €8.28m. It appears that these counties for historical reasons have received more from central funding than Carlow while we would traditionally have collected more from commercial rates. I have asked Ministers English and Coveney to look at how this fund is distributed so that everybody would be on a level playing field. I have also called on the Ministers to look at how we fund local authorities in general, a new funding model is required. Carlow County Council have had to reduce their spending by €4m per annum since 2008, this level of cut backs is not sustainable.

“Minister English gave me a commitment that programmes will be tailored to deliver more funding into local authorities. More industry is also needed in Carlow that not only will create jobs but will also generate commercial rates increasing the funding available for the provision of services.