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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 2 September, 2014

Noonan: If people can afford high-end TV packages, they can afford the household charge

The Finance Minister says many households are paying €1000 a year for television packages.

Image: Julien Behal/PA Wire/Press Association Images

THE MINISTER FOR Finance Michael Noonan has said the majority of Irish households have paid-for TV packages and, therefore, many would be able to pay the household charge.

Speaking in the Seanad earlier this week, Noonan said that “a lot of people have an ability to pay and we should not take the hard case as the typical case.”

He said 82 per cent of households in Ireland have paid television packages: “Most of them do not have the basic package, they also have sport and film channels,” he said. “If one considers the cost of that, the full package in many instances is close to €1,000.”

The point I am making is that a very strong case can be made about how badly off the country is but that is not true. There are people who are very badly off and there are more people badly off now than ever before but there is a whole generality of people who are paying their way. I am only using what people pay for a television product in their homes as an example and this measure is an awful lot less.
Many people will pay less in property tax than they will pay for a television licence. The charges are quite modest and they will be spread across 1.9 million household units and that allows us to keep the rates down.

However, Noonan did recognised that some people in there country are “very badly off”:

“For single people on an income below €15,000 and for a couple with an income below €25,000, there will be a deferral. Those who are badly off because they are paying huge mortgages can add €20,000 interest on to the top of that income for a couple and still get deferrals.”

He described the deferral system as “good”, explaining: “If one has to pay €300 a year and one defers that for ten years, that is only €3,000 on the value of the house plus 4 per cent interest, which would probably bring it up to some hundreds of euro beyond that. The deferral system is not a big penalty on the value of the house and it is there for persons who have an inability to pay.”

Read: Household Charge: Councils granted access to rented accommodation database

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