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Creighton plan to cut property tax in urban areas attacked by FG

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Lucinda Creighton

Lucinda Creighton

Lucinda Creighton

Fine Gael has attacked a proposal to introduce a site-valuation-based property tax to benefit homeowners living in cities.

The Government has been severely criticised for introducing a tax based on house prices, as it was deemed unfair to city dwellers who own more expensive homes due to the increased cost of living in urban areas.

The Local Property Tax rate is frozen until 2016, but with house prices soaring - particularly in Dublin - homeowners are concerned they are going to be hit with massive bills next year.

Lucinda Creighton's party, Renua, proposed abolishing the current system and instead introducing a property tax based on a zoning charge and site valuation. Renua claims property tax "discriminates against city dwellers" and is effectively a "bailout for rural Ireland by urban Ireland".

The party's policy document said the property tax it proposes to introduce will reduce the cost of funding local authorities for people living in large cities and increase charges for those living in rural Ireland.

In an official party statement, Fine Gael attacked Ms Creighton's party for claiming it wants to help rural Ireland but at the same time proposing higher taxes for people living in these areas.

In the statement issued by the Fine Gael press office, party TD Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy said Renua's property tax would be made up of two components; a zoned land charge and a site-value tax.

"The zoned land charge would be based on the size of the site per square metre. This would mean that a bungalow situated on half-an-acre would pay vastly more than a large city house in an affluent area," she said.

"Renua openly states that it is promoting a policy of 'intensive, rather than extensive, development'. Does this mean that Renua want us all to live in housing estates and apartment complexes?" she asked.

Renua's two-pronged tax would see homeowners pay a charge on zoned land they own, which will be calculated on the cost of running the local authority divided by the amount of zoned land under the council's remit.

This revenue would go directly to local authorities and would create a link between zoning decisions and property tax.

The Department of Finance is seeking submissions ahead of a review of the property-tax system. The main issue facing Finance Minister Michael Noonan is the rising value of homes in Dublin and Leinster.

Irish Independent