Call for local authorities to meet five-year plans

Ibec wants multiyear budgets that rule out overspending during lifespan

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy.  Ibec wants all candidates for the local elections to commit to the introduction of reforms aimed at reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and delivering a more transparent administration. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Ibec chief executive Danny McCoy. Ibec wants all candidates for the local elections to commit to the introduction of reforms aimed at reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and delivering a more transparent administration. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Mon, Apr 21, 2014, 11:48


Targeted annual reductions in local authority spending should form part of five-year budgets introduced after the coming elections, according to employers’ body Ibec.

It believes all local authorities should have multiyear budgets that do not allow overspending over the course of the five-year electoral term, and that budgets would be subject to one review, mid-term.

Ibec wants all candidates for the local elections to commit to the introduction of reforms aimed at reducing costs, increasing efficiencies and delivering a more transparent administration.


Savings of 3-5%
It wants all councils to commit to targeted annual reductions in spending, saying it believes savings of 3-5 per cent a year are achievable through efficiency gains.

In a business manifesto for the upcoming elections, Ibec has said that, in recognition of its members’ role as “the primary long-term funders of local government”, there should be a guarantee savings from efficiency gains at local authority level would be fully passed on to commercial ratepayers.

The €1.6 billion per annum contribution from Ibec’s members to local government averages out at €35,000 each. Figures from Dublin City Council show the average rates bill is €15,000 and that 45 per cent comes from 450 companies.

It saidthere was no downward trend in the contribution of commercial rates to local government budgets, with figures from the Department of Local Government indicating the proportion of local government costs attributable to commercial rates has increased to 35 per cent from 28 per cent in the 2008-2013 period.

As well as reducing multiyear budgets, Ibec recommends the number of local authorities be further reduced.

“The process of rationalisation of local government initiated by the present government needs to be given a new impetus, with the focus on merging the small local authorities and extending the population footprint covered by Cork and Galway city councils.”


Councillors must agree
Ibec believes councils need to “radically improve” financial reporting. It said the Government committed in 2012 to the introduction of targeted performance indicators. It wants new councillors to commit to the introduction of this reform by the end of this year, at the latest.