Number paying household levy slows

Wed, Apr 11, 2012, 01:00

The number of property owners registering or paying the €100 household charge is slowing according to tallies from the Local Government Management Agency.

Figures from the agency put the number of households paying to just over 1,000 per day since the March 31st deadline.

To date some 891,201 property owners registered or paid the charge, up 1,017 on yesterday.

The figure includes 152,500 postal applications yet to be processed, 73,000 made to local authority offices, and 14,525 applications for a waiver. Nearly 651,176 properties were registered online.

More than 11,000 of those payments were made after the March 31st deadline and incurred penalties of €10 plus €1 in interest.

With the rate of payment of the charge at about 50 per cent local authorities are facing an unprecedented gap in funding.

The charge is intended to replace the exchequer element of the Local Government Fund, set up in 1999 as one of the funding sources from central government to local government. In 2011 exchequer funding was €164 million; in 2012 this was to be replaced by the household charge to the tune of €161 million.

However, while local authorities could rely on their allocation of the €164 million, the same will not be true of the household charge.

Last week Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan suggested he would “incentivise” local authorities that “pull out all the stops” to collect the charge by giving them a greater allocation of the money generated. However, no matter what success rate is ultimately achieved, unless 100 per cent of the charge is collected, local authorities will face a gap in their funding.