Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sinn Féin to Challenge Flawed and Unfair City Council Budget

Sinn Féin to Challenge Flawed and Unfair City Council Budget Sinn Féin leader on Cork City Council, Chris O'Leary, has said the party will be challenging the council’s budget across a number of areas when it comes before tonight’s meeting. Cllr. O’Leary, said: “The architecture of this budget is both flawed and unfair. Firstly, I don’t believe it factors in the 25% cut to local authority funding coming from central government in a strategically sound way. As a result of this cut alone, 2013 will see city council being forced to slash services. But there are serious questions to be answered regarding the total grant allocation of €16 million. It is unclear if city management has arrived at this figure by including projected intake of finance from the tax on the family home.” “The folly of such an approach was highlighted last year when part of the budget was arrived at by projecting intake from the disastrous household charge.” “Minister Hogan's household charge was disaster for his department and he is now attempting to shift the blame onto councils the length and breadth of this state. He is now reported to have withheld a further €900k in funding from local authorities because of the non-payment of household charge. “This is the height of hypocrisy given that 47,110 Cork City households will pay approximately €14.8m with the property tax and is no guarantee that the money will come back into Cork City. This may lead to further shortfalls for the provision of housing maintenance, road resurfacing, and the disabled person’s grant. The fact of the matter is that we are now working with 56% of the funding we had in 2009. Approximately €12.7 million has been slashed from the budget of Cork City Council since 2009. Budget 2013 ensures that the main role of the government is to service banking debt and as a result ordinary citizens suffer at a local level. We will not support the council budget as it simply endorses an austerity agenda that is now being propped up by a tax on the family home. But beyond the constraints, Councillors have a duty to make sure that the local authority is making the right choices in order to protect the most vulnerable people in our city.” “As we have done before, Sinn Féin has identified alternative areas where savings could be made, including expenditure on plant hire, fuel and the rent of office spaces around the city which are currently lying idle. Frontline services should not be cut , when every other alternative has not been exhausted, and I am not convinced that Minister Hogan given opportunities for council's to raise as Sinn Féin advised in submission earlier this year ie portion of VAT collected locally, Portion of lotto receipts sold locally, Portion of corporation tax collected locally ,Higher rates on financial institutions, Rates on government buildings as is the case in other EU countries.” “We will also be calling for the Lord Mayor’s salary of €114,200 to be reduced to €35,000 and there should be a moratorium on conference expenses. This would result in significant savings but equally importantly it is a way for elected representatives to show leadership and demonstrate solidarity with those who are suffering hardship due to the current economic crisis. This budget is flawed, unfair, and unworkable. It should be opposed by all councillors.” For further Information please contact Cllr.Chris O'Leary on 0872794307

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