Thursday, 25 July 2013

Commencement of water charges in October 2014 is a cynical move that will deepen recession

Wicklow Sinn Féin councillor has described the government’s decision to hold off issuing water tax bills until after next year’s local elections as a cynical move that will drive us deeper into recession.

Cllr Brady said “Minister Hogan has admitted that the water charges will commence in October 2014 and that Families will receive the bills in early 2015. This is a cynical move, the government is holding off until after next year’s local elections before anyone receives a bill for water. Fine Gael and the Labour Party know that to issue the bills before May would certainly mean a loss of council seats. The current proposal to charge households for water was dreamt up by Fianna Fáil but brought to life by Fine Gael and Labour.”

“Water charges are wrong. To charge people for the water they drink is unacceptable. The reality is struggling families will be hit with yet another bill. In Denmark, with a population similar to our own, water metering is in place and in 2007 the average cost was €715 per household.

The Sinn Féin councillor continued “The government spins a myth that we do not pay for our water.  We pay for our water service in our taxes. Water charges will mean the public pay three times for their water. Firstly in their general taxes, secondly through this new charge and, finally, they will pay through the National Pension Reserve Fund, which is being used to fund the installation of water meters. Local Authority Professional Officers have given estimates of €1.2 billion to cover the cost of the installation. It is ordinary householders who will be footing the bill.”

Brady went onto say “Revised data from the Central Statistics Office shows the economy contracted in the second-half of last year and shrank another 0.6pc in the first three months of 2013. This means that we have again officially entered recession for the first time since 2009. Many experts believe this is down to the introduction of the property tax, even the Fine Gael transport minister Leo Varadkar has said that the property tax has played a part in Ireland’s return to recession.”

Brady concluded “The bottom line is austerity isn’t working and it is simply pushing us deeper into recession. Sucking millions more from the pockets of people who don’t have it to pay for a tax on water that they have already paid for is wrong and must be halted. Even the former head of the IMF mission to Ireland Ashoka Mody, has admitted that the austerity-only policy chosen for the handling of Ireland’s EU-IMF bailout was a mistake. What we need is to get people back to work and to stimulate the economy, as opposed to forcing those who haven’t got anything left to give pay for the mistakes of the previous government. Water taxes are wrong and Sinn Féin will continue to oppose their introduction.” Ends

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