Dáil Éireann - Volume 555 - 10 October, 2002

Written Answers. - Local Authority Funding.

  236. Mr. Allen asked the Minister for the Environment and Local Government the amount each local authority has been granted and approved to spend in 2002 under the essential repairs grant scheme; if he has received reports from local authorities indicating shortfalls in funding for this scheme in 2002; if so, the details in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17618/02]

  Minister of State at the Department of the Environment and Local Government (Mr. N. Ahern): My Department issues overall allocations for house purchase and improvement loans, disabled person's and essential repairs grants. There are no separate allocations for the essential repairs grants scheme which represents only a small proportion of the overall allocation. It is a matter for each local authority to decide the level of funding to be provided for the essential repairs grants scheme in its area from within its overall allocations. While it is open to a local authority to seek a higher allocation in the event of increased demand under the scheme, an increased capital allocation would not, of itself, allow increased expenditure by a local authority without a corresponding upward revision of the authoritys own estimates of expenditure.

  Apart from these allocations, my Department's involvement with funding for the essential repairs grant schemes relates primarily to the recoupment of up to two thirds of local authority expenditure on the payment of individual grants. The grants scheme is funded at local authority level from the authorities own resources and within the amounts included for that purpose in the local authorities' own estimates of expenditure. I understand that South Dublin, Galway and Laois county councils have notified my Department of difficulties funding the element of the essential repairs grants scheme not recouped by the Department.

  In recent years, the amount of recoupment payable by my Department to local authorities has increased significantly under this scheme. Prior to 2 December 1998, local authorities were recouped 50% of each essential repairs grant paid up to a maximum of €1,143 in each case. Since that date two thirds of the amount of grant paid is recouped, up to a maximum recoupment of €8,467 in each case.

[269]   Question No. 237 answered with Question No. 20.

  Question No. 238 answered with Question No. 44.

  Question No. 239 answered with Question No. 43.