C&AG report: Lotto contributes less than expected to good causes

The National Lottery last year contributed less than expected to good causes, the State’s spending watchdog revealed yesterday.

While the National Lottery was expected to contribute €200m in 2014, only €178m was provided to programmes financed by the fund.

The Comptroller and Auditor General’s 2014 report found the changeover to a new operator accounted for the shortfall.

“The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform stated that the variance between the estimate of €200m and the outturn of €178m is mainly due to technical and timing issues relating to the transition to the new lottery regime with transition costs reducing the potential amount available for transfer,” the report read.

Meanwhile the C&AG also reported that central government’s funding to local authorities has fallen by over €4bn since 2008. The €1.7bn given to councils in 2014 from the Local Government Fund was a 28% drop on the year before, and was mainly financed by €1.2bn from motor tax and €491m from the local property tax.

Capital expenditure by local authorities declined year on year since reaching its peak level of €6.8bn in 2007, the report read.

“A substantial part of the fall in funding levels has occurred as a result of the transfer of responsibilities from local authorities to other agencies,” the C&AG reported.

It also cited matters of concern arising from local government audits, and noted Sligo and Donegal County Councils have debit balances of €21.7m and €17.8m respectively. Special mention was also given to the interest rolled up on loans for land purchases, including Cork City Council (€37m), Dublin City Council (€33m) and Wicklow County Council (€25m). The report notes the National Oversight and Audit Commission was set up in July 2014, and will scrutinise the councils’ performance, including financial performance.

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