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Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Property tax will be fair

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has insisted planned value-based property tax will be as fair, affordable and equitable as possible.

And Mr Kenny said people will be informed of the new charge well in advance as he attempts to steer the Government away from a repeat of confusion around the introduction of water and household levies.

"It is part of the commitment we have that the property tax will be introduced following a decision of the Government collectively in as fair and affordable a fashion as possible," Mr Kenny said.

He said the Government will discuss the range, nature and characteristics of the tax following the publication of the Thornhill Report, to be published by Environment Minister Phil Hogan.

The report on the tax is expected "fairly soon", said Mr Kenny at the start of a Fine Gael parliamentarty think-in in Westport, Co Mayo.

Mr Hogan was personally criticised in January following confusion surrounding the introduction of the household charge - an interim flat €100 rate put in place until the permanent value-based property tax is implemented.

Householders were initially left unsure of how and where they could pay the annual bill.

A second controversy surrounding water charges left Mr Hogan red-faced in April, following confusion over the cost of water meters and timing of installation.

"I would like to think that people will be informed in good time as to when the property tax will take effect, the nature of it and what it is that people will be obliged to contribute," Mr Kenny said of the introduction of the property tax.

As the Taoiseach made assurances about the forthcoming property tax, the International Monetary Fund made its own observations in its lastest staff report on Ireland.

European chiefs said there was considerable scope for further base broadening measures to raise revenues.

The report stated a value-based property tax would be important as "a progressive and stable source of revenue".

It highlighted other measures the Government is likely to announce for Budget 2013, on December 7, in order to shore up €1.25bn for the economy.

They include broadening the personal income tax base, restructuring motor tax, reducing general tax expenditures and increasing excise duties.

The report also predicted a reduction in money spent on social welfare, and on the total pay and pensions bill.