Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Household Charge


The Government should stop trying to bully people into paying the household charge by threatening to criminalise ordinary householders who don't pay.

Many people have not received information about the household charge, do not know if they are liable for the charge or how to pay the charge. Additionally there are many ordinary householders who simply cannot afford to pay the household charge of €100 before the end of March.

The proposed household charge is unfair and the government needs to go back to the drawing board on this one.

The household charge is unfair for the following reasons:
  • it taxes the property regardless of whether it is a bedsit or a mansion, in ballybunion or dalkey
  • it does not take into account the income of the persons living in the property
  • it does not apply to state provided housing
  • it applies to negative equity properties
  • it applies to properties with mortgage arrears
  • it applies to properties for which significant stamp duty was already paid
  • it applies to vacant properties
  • it applies to non principle private residences for which the NPPR has already been paid 
The government are using the household charge as just another way of collecting money to run the state. We all understand that the Government has been a shortfall in income and they are using various means to collect more money so they can bridge the gap between income (tax) and spending. Indiscriminately applying a €100 charge on every property in the country is the wrong way to do it. It will not work, many people cannot pay, many people will not pay. The Government should be grown-up enough to admit that they rushed this legislation through and they have got it wrong.

The Government needs to properly consider how it will fund local services. Any new tax to fund local services must be based on the payees ability to pay. Local taxes should be defined locally, collected locally and spent locally.

I have asked Fianna Fail's spokesperson on the Enviornment, Niall Collins TD to raise these issues with Minister Phil Hogan. I have also asked him to specifically request Minister Hogan to make available to all householders the facility to pay quarterly in instalments by pay by direct debit. It is unacceptable and unfair that people registering after March 1st are being denied that facility.

Mary