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'Water charges will hurt low-income families'

St Vincent de Paul is unhappy that assistance is being provided from the Household Package.

Image: Nick Ansell

YESTERDAY’S PUBLICATION OF the cost of water charges will have serious implications for low income households, the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) has warned.

SVP also says that government’s decision to give financial assistance via the Household Benefits Package is “an untargeted measure” and wants the government to prioritise assistance to households in receipt of fuel allowance as a more targeted measure.

“Using the fuel allowance instead of the Household Package would mean that Government could target assistance directly to older people, unemployed, one parent families and people in receipt of disability allowance. If measures are required for people who are struggling then they should go to people we already know are in difficulty,” says Brendan Hennessy, SVP Social Justice Officer.

water-charges-5-630x171 Source: Thejournal

Hennessy says that it is also concerned with the proposed charge of €4.88 per 1,000 liters, which will be one of the highest in Europe.

“This establishes a culture of high charging which could have serious implications after 2016, recognised as the end of the transitionary period. It is also represents the end of the time limit of Government’s subsidy to Irish Water.”

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Hennessy acknowledged that “we are now in a period of learning about water consumption”, but said that the plan must be based on a long-term strategy.

Coherent, evidence based, long term solutions to addressing water affordability and the secure funding future of Irish Water need to be found.

Read: Here’s how much you’ll be expected to pay for water

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