Wednesday 18 September 2019

Taoiseach at odds with report as he insists councillors should get more power to adjust property tax in their area


Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Councillors should be given more powers to adjust the property tax in their area despite a Government report recommending otherwise, according to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Taking questions in the Seanad, Mr Varadkar said he did not agree with the findings of an interdepartmental report which took 14 months to compile.

The report said the ability of local authorities to reduce the Local Property Tax (LPT) by up to 15pc should be taken away. Instead, it says councillors should only be allowed raise the rate.

"Interestingly, as many councils have varied the LPT upwards as downwards," the Taoiseach said.

"Many probably would not have thought that happened, but whereas some councils have varied it downwards, others such as Longford County Council have taken the decision to vary up and invest that money in its county and county towns.

"I think we can trust local government and councillors to have more autonomy when it comes to the LPT and allow them to vary it by a greater percentage. That is what I would suggest as part of the solution."

Mr Varadkar also wants to end a perception that people in urban areas pay an unfair amount of property tax when compared with rural dwellers.

"There is more to the story than that," he told senators.

"People in urban areas receive more local services from the local authorities, whether it is footpaths or street lighting, local parks and grass cutting and so on."

Irish Independent

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