Hogan welcomes 70% compliance rate in payment of household charge

Fri, Dec 28, 2012, 00:00

The Minister for the Environment has heralded the success of the household charge while admitting 300,000 houseowners have yet to pay a total of €30 million to cover the cost of the charge introduced a year ago.

Phil Hogan welcomed a 70 per cent compliance rate but he was accused of “spinning his way into the new year” by the Opposition, who described the charge as “as disaster for the Government”.

Mr Hogan thanked those who had paid €113.35 million to cover the tax due on 1.12 million properties. He said the collection rate had proved that the “doom merchants” who had predicted the charge would be difficult to collect were wrong.

He encouraged those yet to pay the €100 to do so immediately to avoid penalties. There had been “plenty of doom merchants who said it would not be collected and people wouldn’t pay. How wrong they were.

“We had elected representatives who actively encouraged people to break the law and not pay the charge. These self-same people are now calling for more funding for local authorities and at the same time encouraging people not to pay.”

Irish people had had “a tough time of it” in recent years but those who had paid “recognise the importance of compliance with the law of the land and, by paying the charge, they have made their contribution to the provision of essential services at the local level”.

Economic recovery

Mr Hogan said the State was “on the road to economic recovery” but he added that it was a “road that requires difficult decisions”. These included a local property tax next year which would “provide local authorities with the ability to raise funding locally and spend it on necessary local services”.

The household charge will be abolished next week. Those who pay by April 30th will have the fee capped at €130 – the original charge plus €30 in arrears and penalties. If the tax is still outstanding in July it will be be increased to €200 and added to local property tax due on the property.

Describing the charge as “a disaster for this Government”, Sinn Féin’s environment spokesman Brian Stanley accused Mr Hogan of “spinning into the new year”. He accused Mr Hogan of continuing “in his attempts to threaten and bully the public into submission”.