Local authority finances 2022 edition shows local council revenue incomes and spending on local public services

Jul 05 2022 Posted: 11:10 IST

Users can see funding and services provided by the 31 local authorities

Researchers from the Whitaker Institute at NUI Galway have launched the 2022 edition of the local authority finances website.

Compiled by economics lecturers Dr Gerard Turley and Stephen McNena, the 2022 local authority budgeted income and expenditure data are available on the online platform www.localauthorityfinances.com.

Aimed at improving the transparency and accountability of local authorities, users of the interactive website can discover the different sources of local council funding, from commercial rates, residential property tax, charges and fees, and central government grants.

Users can also see the services provided by the 31 local authorities, including, for example, spending on social housing, local and regional roads, fire and library services, and public parks and amenities. Users can view the income and spending of their own local council, or they can compare to other local councils.

Dr Gerard Turley notes: “Local authorities plan to spend over €6 billion in 2022. To date, this is the largest day-to-day spending by the local government sector in Ireland. During the years of the Covid-19 pandemic, higher levels of council spending have been supported by central government grants, in the form of increased specific-purpose transfers but also compensation payments for loss of income from rates and charges adversely affected by government restrictions. The website allows citizens to see how this six billion euro of taxpayers’ money is spent locally.

“A goal of any university is to contribute to place and to wider society. As NUI Galway’s mission is for the public good, this project is aimed at promoting more informed public policy choices and decisions, by making local authority budgets easier for voters and citizens to access and understand.”

On using the interactive web application, Stephen McNena advises: “Users should click on the council spending or council income weblinks and then choose a local authority to find out where your money is spent, and where it comes from. The data are presented in a user-friendly way, and expressed in euros, euros per person or as a share of the local authority budget. Everything from spending on planning and local development to the operation of leisure facilities is listed, and on the income side, revenue from the Local Property Tax (LPT) to fees and charges for local services.”

At the aggregated level, some of the highlights from the 2022 data are as follows:

-          Dublin City Council’s revenue budget exceeds €1.1 billion;

-          The smallest budget is €44 million, for Leitrim County Council;

-          Expenditure per person varies from €794 for Kildare County Council to €2,038 for Dublin City Council;

-          Spending on housing and roads are the two largest local service divisions, with housing supports the single biggest expenditure item;

-          Central government grants constitute the largest share of local government funding, at 40 per cent and rising, with the smallest share from the LPT at less than 7 per cent and falling.

To find out more about your local authority’s budget for 2022, visit www.localauthorityfinances.com. For further information contact the authors at gerard.turley@nuigalway.ie or stephen.mcnena@nuigalway.ie


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