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FG claims Labour will hit owners with 'tax bombshell'

THE Labour Party last night declined to say if it will bring in a property tax on family homes if it gets into Government.

In his party's economic plan, leader Eamon Gilmore announced he accepted the need to bring in what he described as "site valuation charge".

But Labour did not say if this property tax would apply to the principal family home or just second homes.

The lack of an explanation led Fine Gael's Leo Varadkar to accuse the party of trying to "sneak in a property tax bombshell".

Labour's economic plan commits to raising €250m a year from the new tax from 2014 onwards.

The party's director of elections, Ruairi Quinn, said it was still working out how a property tax would work and whether it would include primary or second homes.

"Quite honestly, we can't say at this stage because we don't know," he said.

Mr Quinn said the introduction of a property tax was part and parcel of the four-year budgetary plan agreed with the EU and IMF.

But Mr Varadkar said: "If they are only referring to second homes, to raise €250m they would have to apply a tax of an average of €1,300 per annum on second homes. This seems unlikely."

Fine Gael claims it would not bring in a property tax and had other proposals to raise revenue.

Irish Independent