Siptu calls for suspension of levy

 

Trade union Siptu, which represents about 200,000 employees, has called on the Government to suspend the €100 household charge.

At its monthly meeting today, the union’s national executive committee unanimously supported a motion calling for the suspension.

The motion said the charge, as currently proposed by the Government, was “a flat tax which is unfair and regressive in that it subsidises wealthy people at the expense of middle and low income families”.

“The NEC supports the principle of a fair and progressive property tax which is proportionate and which recognises that wealthy households can afford to pay more than those with modest earnings while those on lower incomes should be exempt,” the motion said.

It called on the Government to suspend the introduction of the charge until it could be replaced by “a fair and progressive property tax”.

The Government has already committed to replacing the charge with a property tax after this year. It expects to raise about €160 million from the household charge.

The Department of the Environment has confirmed that 97,000 households have registered for the charge. The deadline for registration is March 31st.

The Siptu executive said today the charge, as currently formulated, was “playing into the hands of those wealthy interests that have successfully resisted the introduction of a fair property tax in the past, most notably in their campaign against the Residential Property Tax in the 1990s”.

Suggesting an alternative source of revenue until a property charge could be put in place, the union said the immediate suspension of all unused section 23 property tax reliefs and accelerated capital allowances had the potential to save the Exchequer close to €100 million in tax foregone this year.

“Restricting landlord mortgage interest relief for both residential and non-residential properties by 10 per cent would bring in an estimated €75m, which together with the suspension of the unused tax reliefs would more than offset the loss of €160m in additional tax revenues from the household charge, saving the Exchequer up to €175m,” the union added.

The Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes welcomed the union’s call. “The household charge as currently proposed by the Government is a flat tax which is unfair and regressive in that it subsidises wealthy people at the expense of middle and low income families,” the campaign group said.