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Green Party Communications | 19.09.2012 | Back to News | News Archive
Hogan is pitting Councils against the people they represent.
Local Authorities have no right to block payments of third level grants to students whose parents have failed to pay the charge.
"The combination of the Anti Household Tax Campaign and Minister Hogan’s mishandling of the Household Charge has led to Local Authorities being punished and forced to implement supplementary budget cuts. The bullying of Local Authorities into reaching collection targets is doing untold damage to the relationship between Councils and the people they represent. I don't believe Local Authorities have the right to block payments of third level grants to students whose parents have failed to pay the charge." said Party Environment Spokesperson Cllr Malcolm Noonan.
Cllr Noonan was speaking following a meeting of his own Council; Kilkenny County Council where initial cuts of €120,000 were voted through and where the Director of Services for Finance warned members that every programme was up for consideration in 2013 and where many community and arts programmes would be cease altogether. Doubts were also cast over the Disabled Persons Grant (DPG) a matching fund grant used for essential retrofit programmes in the homes of people with disabilities.
‘Local Authorities are being blackmailed by Minister Hogan into making these hard choices and those who have paid the household charge are being pitted against those who haven’t. Many people have not paid because they were misled by the Anti Tax Campaign into believing that a mass campaign of non compliance would lead to Government capitulation on the issue’ he said.
‘To repair some of the damage that is being done Minister Hogan should now insist that any future property tax is collected and used by the Local Authorities rather than going direct to the Revenue. This is in line with all other European Local and Regional Government structures and would help empower local Government. In the meantime allowances to Cathaoirligh, Mayors and the Education and Training allowances to members should be cut significantly to help fund some of the essential services that are facing cuts. Members cannot decry the cuts to services while entitlements remain untouched’ he said.
Local Government is in crisis, staff morale is at an all time low and local communities are going to feel the effects of loss of not just essential services but those that bind communities together. All of this is being overseen by a Minister who fails to comprehend the scale of the problem and is blaming others for a mess of his own making. Minister Hogan’s reform agenda for Local Government is failing at the first hurdle’ he concluded.