Monday 24 July 2017

New water tax to replace hated bills

Households will no longer face water charges and will have to pay bills only if they use the resource in a
Households will no longer face water charges and will have to pay bills only if they use the resource in a "wasteful" manner. Stock Image

Niall O'Connor and Paul Melia

Households will no longer face water charges and will have to pay bills only if they use the resource in a "wasteful" manner.

The report recommends that families' supply is paid for through general taxation.

It wants the volume of water considered 'necessary' to meet domestic and personal needs to be assessed in an independent and transparent process.

Only what is considered 'wasteful usage' of water will be paid for by the user.

Some findings of the draft report of the Independent Water Commission will be seized on by the anti-water charges movement as support for the long and sometimes bitter campaign that it waged.

However, the commission says the Government should consider introducing a "water tax" to keep Irish Water afloat.

"The question of whether there should be a dedicated tax . . . would be a matter of budgetary policy and outside the scope of this report, but is worthy of further consideration," the report says.

On the issue of ownership, the commission finds that there is "overwhelming support" for retaining Irish Water as a public utility. And it finds "considerable merit" in holding a referendum to ensure the utility cannot be privatised in the future.

The final report is due to be sent to the 20-person Oireachtas committee tomorrow.

Irish Independent

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