Putting the local back into the LPT

 

Sir, – A fundamental review of Local Property Tax (LPT) is expected in 2019 (Home News, December 13th) and the Oireachtas Budgetary Oversight Committee has this week been focusing on its methodology.

An assurance has been given from Government that it is likely that bands will not be adjusted to cause a more expensive LPT obligation, and this is welcome.

Additionally, however, there should be substantial reform to LPT equalisation.

Currently, for example, a colossal 20 per cent of LPT raised within Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown is diverted to a central government fund and not a single cent of this money is invested within the county.

A mechanism should be introduced whereby at least one-quarter of the amount each local authority pays to the equalisation fund from LPT should be provided back to each local authority as an effective rebate each year from the fund, plus the equalisation amount of 20 per cent of LPT due ought to be calculated upon the net amount of LPT after any variation within the permitted range of -15/+15 per cent (as decided upon each year by elected members of each local authority) has been deducted (or added) first.

This reform if implemented would result in a possible net increase of €3.75 million of income for Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, as a case in point, and would cascade similar benefits to other predominantly urban councils.

The additional funds from any rebate should be returned locally in the form of discretionary income given that the whole concept of LPT was initially sold on the basis of facilitating additional local services from locally-derived funding. With the current equalisation arrangements in place, that spirit is not as evident in practice as it ought to be. – Yours, etc,

Cllr JOHN KENNEDY,

Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown

County Council,

Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin.