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Written Answers - Local Authority Charges

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 760 No. 3

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 388.  Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan Information on Maureen O'Sullivan Zoom on Maureen O'Sullivan  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  the amount of finance that has been spent on the household charge printed information promised to all households, to inform individuals of procedures, options, costs and so on; and the amount that has been estimated for the process of circulation of the relevant printed information to individual homes. [16292/12]

 403.  Deputy Martin Ferris Information on Martin Ferris Zoom on Martin Ferris  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  the amount he estimates will be spent by local authorities on advertisements calling on persons to pay the household charge. [16499/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 388 and 403 together.

The Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) is administering the household charge system on a shared service/agency basis for all county and city councils. The costs arising, including those in relation to printing and advertising, are a matter for the LGMA and the county and city councils.

Question No. 389 answered with Question No. 386.

 390.  Deputy Tom Fleming Information on Tom Fleming Zoom on Tom Fleming  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if he will address the uncertainty amongst many members of the public, by provid[865]ing assurances that he will never sell unpaid household charges to third party collection companies, that he will protect vulnerable families against unpaid household charges being dealt with through the courts and ultimately becoming judgement mortgages, which would forcibly be collected by foreclosing on homes and selling of those homes to collect debts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16299/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan The Local Government (Household Charge) Act 2011 and the Local Government (Household Charge) Regulations 2012 provide the legislation underpinning the household charge. Under the Act, it is a function of a local authority to collect household charges and late payment penalties due to it and all household charges and late payment penalties imposed and payable to a local authority are under the care and management of the local authority concerned. In this regard, application of the legislation in particular circumstances is a matter for the relevant local authority.

 391.  Deputy Sean Fleming Information on Seán Fleming Zoom on Seán Fleming  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  the arrangements that will be put in place so persons can pay the household charge through the Post Office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16345/12]

 393.  Deputy Terence Flanagan Information on Terence Flanagan Zoom on Terence Flanagan  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  the position regarding the household charge (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16370/12]

 407.  Deputy Robert Troy Information on Robert Troy Zoom on Robert Troy  asked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan  if he has actively engaged with An Post and the IPU with regards the possibility of the Post Office offering services previously provided by the local authority such as motor tax renewals, household charges, water and commercial rates. [16592/12]

Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government (Deputy Phil Hogan): Information on Philip Hogan Zoom on Philip Hogan I propose to take Questions Nos. 391, 393 and 407 together.

An Post is assisting in broadening the number of local outlets where the household charge declaration form is available. The declaration form is available outside the counter in the network of 1,152 local post offices. Persons may complete the declaration and forward it to the central payment bureau at Household Charge, PO Box 12168, Dublin 1. There is a range of other options available for persons to pay the household charge. An online system www.householdcharge.ie is in place in the Local Government Management Agency (LGMA) to enable homeowners to pay the household charge by credit/debit card. In addition, homeowners can make payment by cheque, postal order or by credit/debit card by completing the relevant payment details on the declaration form and posting it to Household Charge, PO Box 12168, Dublin 1. Instalment payments were available by direct debit only and persons opting to pay in this way had to register their details before 1 March, 2012.

A bureau is in place in the LGMA to administer the charge on a shared service/agency basis for all local authorities. In addition, all county/city councils have been requested to have arrangements in place for persons to attend their principal offices to pay the household charge up to 31 March, 2012. The LGMA engaged with An Post in the consideration of payment options for the household charge. My Department has also engaged with An Post in the consideration of the suitability of its payment facilities for other local authority services. I am satisfied that there is a comprehensive suite of payment options available to persons to pay the household charge. I have no proposals to extend these further to post offices.


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