New cars and homes hit with 'green tax'
MOTORISTS and householders face a raft of new green levies under plans being considered by the Government.
A levy on new cars and a charge when buying tyres are proposed to stamp out rogue operators and help protect the environment.
Bin collection charges will also rise for householders who refuse to recycle under the proposals to be outlined today by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.
The proposals will mean higher bills for most people.
The changes are proposed amid deep concern that cars, tyres and household waste are being illegally dumped and causing widespread environmental damage.
The Irish Independent has learnt the Government is considering introducing a levy on new cars to pay for their disposal, with a similar fee for new tyres, which is likely to be passed on to the consumer.
The charges have not yet been set but are likely to be decided after an eight-week public consultation process, which begins today.
There are concerns about the number of vehicles and tyres going "missing" from the system and ending up being illegally dumped or crushed without dangerous chemicals being removed.
The new levies are the latest in a series of taxes to bring us into line with our European neighbours and help reduce waste and combat dangerous climate change.
Carbon taxes have been imposed on fossil fuels since 2010, the plastic bag tax introduced in 2002 has dramatically reduced consumption, while the landfill levy has helped improve recycling rates.
Water charges to be introduced from the end of next year will also help drive down consumption.
In 2010, some 158,000 cars were classed as "end of life" (ELV) or ready for destruction. But just 43,000 were disposed of in authorised facilities.
Around 35,000 tonnes of tyres come on to the market every year, but just 20,000 tonnes are processed through licensed plants.
Mr Hogan will outline his new policies at a speech this morning in Croke Park at the National Waste summit.
The move follows a major review of the so-called Producer Responsibility Initiative, where manufacturers are obliged to ensure their products are correctly disposed of.
The review was announced in June 2012, and a series of reports on the sector will be published on the Department of the Environment's website later today.
"I think the first priority right now has to be creating more employment. That has to be the number one target, but as the economy improves, I would like to see that reflected in improvements in income in people looking at the opportunity for promotion, for advancement.
"I think as the financial circumstances of the State improve, we have to look at how that can be used to ease the burden on families," he added.
Mr Gilmore said the Government had to be careful not to make commitments it could not then deliver upon.
"I think it's important that we don't raise expectation beyond what can be met," he cautioned.
"But there is a logic that as the economy improves, as more employment is created as the financial circumstances of the State improve, then working people -- who have been the people who have made that happen and whose efforts have made that happen -- in my view should be enabled to share that."
Mr Gilmore is the latest in a line of ministers to call for a reduction in the tax burden. A series of Fine Gael ministers have called for tax cuts and highlighted the low point at which middle-income earners hit the higher rate of tax.
A single worker in Ireland starts paying the higher income tax rate of 41pc on any earnings above €32,800. And a married couple with one income pay the top rate on earnings over €41,800.
Mr Gilmore is the first from the Labour Party to suggest fresh changes to income tax and the first member of the mini-Cabinet, the Economic Management Council (EMC), to send such a signal.
Made up of the Tanaiste, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Public Spending Minister Brendan Howlin, the EMC thrashes out the major economic and fiscal policy of the Government before these go to Cabinet.
Meanwhile, Labour members are seeking a reversal of the Budget dole cuts for young people under 25 at their annual conference.
They want the weekly reduction of up to €44, which was introduced by Labour Social Protection Minister Joan Burton, to be withdrawn if a young person is not provided with a job or training within four months.
But after a turbulent year for Labour, none of the 94 motions on the programme call for the party to pull out of Government.
The motions will be voted on by the 1,000 Labour delegates attending the national conference in Killarney this weekend.
There are motions calling for "super taxes" on people earning over €600,000 as well as another calling on Labour ministers to work harder to implement Labour policies in Government.
Many of them reflect other long-standing Labour policies, such as cancelling the payment of almost €100m to fee-paying schools.
But even if they are voted through, they will not be implemented in Government due to opposition from Fine Gael.