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 Header Item Motor Tax Yield (Continued)
 Header Item Other Questions
 Header Item Household Charge Cost

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 1

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  Question No. 59 answered with Question No. 57.

Other Questions

Household Charge Cost

 60. Deputy John Browne Information on John Browne Zoom on John Browne asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the payment rate per local authority of the household charge to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54179/12]

 71. Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Phil Hogan Zoom on Phil Hogan the total number of persons who have paid the household charge to date; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [54181/12]

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd I propose to take Questions Nos. 60 and 71 together.

  The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 provides the legislative basis for the household charge. Under the Act, an owner of a residential property on the liability date is liable to pay the household charge unless otherwise exempted or entitled to claim a waiver. It is a matter for an owner of a residential property to determine liability and pay the charge. The Local Government Management Agency is administering the household charge system on a shared service basis with all councils.

  I understand from the data recently provided that as of 29 November 2012, the number of registrations, including waiver registrations, for the household charge is 1.1 million. The table following details the total number of payments and waivers registered nationally and by local authority area. The figures are also presented as a percentage of the estimated total number of liable properties nationally and locally.

  Overall, compliance continues to grow. It ranges from local authority to local authority, from 85% in Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown to 55% in Donegal. It is a matter for each local authority to use the provisions of the legislation, combined with its local knowledge and judgment, to increase compliance. I expect that local authorities will use the available avenues to the fullest to help fund the services which are most important. The legislation empowers local authorities to bring and prosecute summary proceedings for an offence, and local authorities will pursue those who may have a liability and initiate court proceedings where it is considered appropriate.

  I urge all liable persons who have not paid the charge to contact their local authority as a matter of urgency. Property owners who are unsure of their liability should also contact their local authority.

County/City Council
Estimated number of liable properties
Total registered (paid + waivers)
Registrations as a % of total estimated liable properties
Carlow
18,257
12,097
66%
Cavan
25,611
17,204
67%
Clare
45,786
33,046
72%
Cork City
41,649
28,125
68%
Cork County
143,887
93,123
65%
Donegal
65,331
36,139
55%
Dublin City
190,685
138,359
73%
Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown
74,390
63,396
85%
Fingal
90,286
62,044
69%
Galway City
27,086
20,184
75%
Galway County
62,851
41,765
67%
Kerry
58,792
43,475
74%
Kildare
68,215
45,856
67%
Kilkenny
32,067
21,417
67%
Laois
26,185
16,475
63%
Leitrim
13,069
9,176
70%
Limerick City
20,380
14,131
69%
Limerick County
46,473
31,741
68%
Longford
12,928
8,761
68%
Louth
41,176
25,255
61%
Mayo
51,363
38,741
75%
Meath
60,652
38,278
63%
Monaghan
20,176
13,871
69%
North Tipperary
24,839
18,077
73%
Offaly
25,224
15,175
60%
Roscommon
23,888
16,124
68%
Sligo
25,281
17,821
70%
South Dublin
81,822
52,378
64%
South Tipperary
30,368
20,737
68%
Waterford City
15,753
10,661
68%
Waterford County
24,777
16,474
67%
Westmeath
29,872
20,448
69%
Wexford
56,030
36,695
66%
Wicklow
45,665
32,035
70%
National
1,620,814
1,109,284
68%

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen I thank the Minister of State. Will local authorities be funded by the Minister's Department regarding any further proceedings they have to take to get the household charge from those who have not paid to date? Also, notwithstanding what I said earlier about the household charge fiasco in the past 14 or 15 months, the property tax that is mooted and appears to have been agreed is due to commence in June next year. Is it expected, therefore, that half the household charge will have to be paid in the first six months of the year? Can the Minister of State confirm whether the penalty incurred on the second home tax will be continued with the property tax regime coming into effect in June? Regarding the costs that are to be borne by local authorities, will the Minister fund them or has he established what that cost will be and who is to fund it? Also, regarding the first half of next year, is it the case that all householders will be expected to pay 50% of a household charge based on the fact that the property tax will not be introduced until June of the following year? Can the Minister of State confirm also that second home tax and property tax will apply into the future, as was the case heretofore?

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd This time tomorrow the Deputy will have the answer to those questions. I cannot say what may or may not be in the budget.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen The Minister of State has given out enough information so far, so he may as well go the whole hog.

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd No. I am trying to answer the Deputy's questions fairly. His questions are about the household charge and not about the property tax. As I said, the property tax, if there is one, will be fully debated tomorrow. The report on the property tax should be published shortly thereafter. There will be total transparency about what is happening and where it is happening. I am not in a position to discuss that now but I would encourage everybody who is liable who has not paid the household charge to pay it. I am sure the Deputy will agree with me that in not paying, they will continue to increase the charges on themselves because if they do not pay at the end of a year, they will owe €140 instead of €100, and at the end of two years, instead of owing €200, they will owe €240 plus the expenses incurred should it happen. I urge everybody to pay it to fund local authority essential services.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I ask the Deputy to be brief as there are four Deputies offering.

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen I will ask the question again in the hope I might get an answer this time. First, has an exercise been carried out on the cost of proceedings in the event of having to pursue people for these charges? If that has been costed, who is to bear that cost? Will the Minister of State fund local authorities because they do not have the funding themselves? Second, will the household charge be applicable for the first half of next year?

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd The household charge is in place for this year and if there are changes in the budget for next year, that policy will be announced tomorrow. If anybody is successfully pursued through the courts, the person who loses that case is liable for costs. I presume, therefore, that if a local authority is successful in a prosecution-----

Deputy Barry Cowen: Information on Barry Cowen Zoom on Barry Cowen Live horse and get grass.

Deputy Fergus O'Dowd: Information on Fergus O'Dowd Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd -----it would be able to recover its costs from the person found to be liable.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Five Deputies are offering and I ask for their co-operation. I call Deputy Mick Wallace followed by Deputy Clare Daly.

Deputy Mick Wallace: Information on Mick Wallace Zoom on Mick Wallace The reporting by two gardaí of terminations of fixed charge penalties on a massive scale has been ignored by the Government since last January, and we are being blocked from discussing that in this Chamber. A public inquiry is now needed. Honest gardaí are being undermined. Those gardaí need protection. They went to the Garda confidential recipient for whistleblowers but did not get any satisfaction or protection. Instead, they got a warning when one of them said to one of the gardaí: "I'll tell you something. If Shatter thinks you're screwing him, you're finished." That is a disgrace.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy, please. We are on the household charge. I call Deputy Daly. Is this the same issue?


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