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Tuesday 16 September 2014

Free water allowance for children to be cut by Regulator

Published 03/07/2014 | 02:30

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THE TAOISEACH has indicated that the free water allowance for children is to be cut.

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He told the Dail that the original assessment of 38,000 litres per child per year has changed, and it would be up to the Energy Regulator to decide what the allowance will ultimately be.

Mr Kenny was speaking after Irish Water's failure to publish details of how much it wants to charge families for using water.

It wants a reduction in the free allowance for children.

Mr Kenny insisted that the Government's promise that water charges would on average be €240 a year "will not change". He also insisted that the promise that children would be provided for will also be honoured.

He came under fire from Sinn Fein's Peadar Toibin over the failure of Irish Water to publish details of charges yesterday, which led to angry scenes at an Oireachtas committee.

Mr Kenny said that the Government policy is clear and will not be reneged upon.

"The direction given by government to the regulator is that the average metered charge will be €240 a year and that children are free. That will not change. It is up to the regulator to decide what that allowance will be," he told the Dail.

Mr Kenny was also challenged by Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin about the reported split within Government over promises to cut property tax rates by 15pc.

Mr Kenny said that newly elected councillors were entitled to reduce the property taxes by 15pc if they so wished. He added that the Government had already decided 80pc of taxes will remain in the local area.

Mr Martin criticised what he called cynical and dishonest comments from Government on the property tax during the elections, describing them as "sleight of hand".

But Mr Kenny said a property tax was part of a fair system to contribute to the running of services and that such a tax was six times more jobs friendly than income tax increases.

The planned cut in property tax for homeowners in bigger urban areas is causing a deepening split in the Coalition, the Irish Independent has learnt.

Fine Gael wants councils who benefit from bigger tax takes to use the windfall to pay for Exchequer-funded services. But Labour wants to give hard-pressed householders a break by reducing property tax rates.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte told RTE Radio there is a disagreement within Cabinet as to what to do with proceeds of the Property Tax.

Irish Independent

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