SF: Hogan continues spin into new year

Sinn Féin have accused the Environment Minister Phil Hogan of spinning into the new year after figures revealed that more than 1.1 million homeowners have paid the controversial household charge.

The minister hit out at those who campaigned against the levy while thanking those who paid it.

Mr Hogan said when this charge was introduced 12 months ago there were plenty of doom merchants who said people would not pay.

“How wrong they were,” he said.

However, Sinn Féin have claimed the 70% success rate was a defeat for the Government and in particular for Mr Hogan.

Brian Stanley, the opposition party’s spokesman on the environment, said the household charge has been a disaster for the Government.

“The minister continues to spin his way from this year into the next,” said Mr Stanley.

“A significant 30% of households have not paid this unjust charge posing a serious challenge for the Government.”

Sinn Féin also accused Mr Hogan of threatening to withhold funding to local authorities based on the level of non payment.

“Sinn Féin is on record as saying the household charge is unjust and unworkable. Our words have proven to be correct,” Mr Stanley added.

“We remain opposed to the household charge and will redouble our efforts to overturning the family home tax which follows in the new year.”

A total of 1.126 million properties registered for the charge – including 22,334 waivers – which saw €113.35m collected in revenue for local authorities.

The €100 levy was rolled out last January as an interim measure before the permanent property tax is imposed next year.

The new rate will be set at 0.18% of the property value, rising to 0.25% for homes worth more than €1m.

This will see the owner of a home worth the national average price of €157,400 paying nearly €300 every year.

Homes with a certain level of pyrite damage will be exempt, as well as homeowners earning less than €15,000 and those living in ghost estates.

Mr Hogan said anyone who did not pay household charge this year is urged to hand over the payment by the end of April, when it will be capped at €130 including arrears.

From July 1, any outstanding household charge will be increased to €200 and added to local property tax due on the property.

The Revenue Commissioners will collect the outstanding charge.

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