USERS of public swimming pools, gyms and pitch and putt courses face price hikes in the New Year because of changes in VAT laws.
Local authorities are increasing charges because of a European Court of Justice ruling in 2007.
This determined that where statutory agencies face com- petition from the private sector, they must charge VAT, in the interests of fairness.
The regulations were introduced under the Finance Act 2010. Last October, Finance Minister Michael Noonan signed off on measures which force local authorities to charge VAT from January 1 next.
Dublin City Council has announced that it is to impose a 3.5pc increase in charges, and said it had taken steps to ensure that users were not faced with the full 9pc VAT hike.
Activities that also incur VAT are off-street parking and grave openings.