Over 70pc of homeowners have paid household charge, says Phil Hogan
MORE than 70pc of households have paid the controversial household charge, Environment Minister Phil Hogan revealed today.
Mr Hogan hit out at those who campaigned against the levy while thanking the 1.1 million homeowners who paid it.
He said that 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.
"Seventy per cent of those liable to pay the charge have done so and I commend all those households for doing the right thing.
"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."
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 0.18pc of the property value, rising to 0.25pc 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.
"In the last few years Irish people have had a tough time of it and, in spite of that, over 1.1 million people have paid the household charge," Mr Hogan added.
"They 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. I would like to thank them for this."
Sinn Fein accused the minister of spinning in to the new year and claimed the 70pc 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 30pc of households have not paid this unjust charge posing a serious challenge for the government."
Sinn Fein also accused Mr Hogan of threatening to withhold funding to local authorities based on the level of non-payment.
"Sinn Fein 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."