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'Less than €2 a week': Government publishes household charge bill

The charge will come into effect in the New Year the government has confirmed.

Phil Hogan
Phil Hogan
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT HAS today published the bill that will pave the way for the introduction of a €100 charge on most households in the country as part of the requirements of the EU-IMF bailout agreement.

Announcing the publication of the bill today, the Environment, Community and Local Government Minister Phil Hogan said the government was committed to eventually introducing a valuation based property tax to replace the charge.

The interim measure is expected to raise €160 million in revenue. It was first announced by the government back in July and will form part of Budget 2012, being delivered today and tomorrow in the Dáil.

The charge is expected to come into effect in the New Year with those subject to it either allowed to pay in instalments or within three months. Those late in paying it will be subject to interest charges of as much as 30 per cent.

Those on mortgage interest supplement and those residing in certain unfinished housing estates will get a waiver on the charge.

Meanwhile, people in social housing, properties where commercial rates apply, or in government or HSE owned property will be exempt from the charge.

The government has also confirmed that property owners and not occupiers will be liable for the charge.

‘Less than €2 a week’

“A full property tax, requiring a property valuation system, will take time to implement, so the Government is introducing the interim household charge to apply to the majority of owners of residential property in the State, ” Hogan said today in announcing the publication of the bill.

Hogan said that an inter-departmental expert group will advise him the middle of next year on the design, scope and implementation of a property tax.

In the interim he pointed out that while the charge was an additional cost for homeowners it was “modest at less than the equivalent of €2 a week.”

“I have provided in the Bill that it may be paid in a number of instalments. I have also introduced provisions in the Bill to protect vulnerable groups in society by providing a waiver for those on mortgage interest supplement and those residing in certain unfinished housing estates.”

Money raised from the charge will be paid into the Local Government Fund and will be allocated back to local authorities to pay for the provision of services such as fire and emergency services, street maintenance, public parks, waste management, libraries and leisure facilities, the government has said.

The Minister concluded: “It will provide a new stream of funding for local government enabling the sector to continue to respond to local needs and contribute to a more efficient, accountable and effective local government system. This is local democracy in action.”

Poll: Will you pay the household charge?

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Hugh O'Connell

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