IF the Government can tell the European Commission and IMF how much it expects to raise in water charges, why can't it tell us? More than 1.3 million households are expected to pay €500m in charges from next year and the troika and Government are planning our Budgets on the assumption that this money will be collected.
But it's a pity the Coalition didn't break the news, instead of burying it in official documents. The Government needs to start setting out the planned tax hikes and spending cuts over the coming years, so that households can plan their finances and finally begin spending again.
While everyone knew water charges were coming, we were repeatedly told that no decision had been made on how much householders would have to pay. That may be the case, but the Government certainly knows what it expects to collect in a given year – €500m.
That's an average of €370 for each of the 1.35 million households that will receive bills in 2014. While it is just €7 a week, many people will simply not have the money to pay.
The Government is terrified of hampering consumer confidence and delaying our economic recovery. It clearly believes that the announcement of extra taxes and charges could jeopardise our return to the markets.
But the public are well used to austerity and would welcome some clarity. We all know there's more pain on the way. Knowing what is to come and when might help restore some confidence and give a little bit of hope that the austerity may soon be at an end.