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Sentenced to death by 1,000 cuts and taxes

JUST before the election, as opinion polls showed a panic-inducing dip in support for his party, Eamon Gilmore accused Fine Gael of being the "party of stealth taxes".

He was right. It is. But now Mr Gilmore and his coterie have become willing, indeed enthusiastic, accomplices in the moves to make Ireland the land of cead mile tobhaigh.

The list of stealth charges gets longer by the day and include:

Interim Household Charge €100

This latest charge will soften us up before the imposition of a full-scale property tax later.

The EU/IMF bailout programme demands that the Government introduce a property tax next year and increase it the year after.

Water Charges

Cost to be confirmed

To be introduced when the Government gets water meters into every home in the country. Environment Minister Phil Hogan said he did not see water metering as a "charging or taxation issue" but as a "very important water conservation issue". In its pre-election love-bombing of the Irish electorate, Labour promised there would be no water charges.

Private Pension Levy

0.6 per cent or €500 a year

The levy on private pension funds. It's intended to raise €470m a year and will operate for four years. It will raise €1.88bn overall from the funds of private sector employees and pensioners. Public sector employees and non-residents will not be subject to the tax.

Universal Social Charge 7 per cent on any income over €16,016

The USC is imposed on gross income and, importantly, before deductions for a pension.

Health Insurance Levy €205 surcharge by government on all policies

The VHI has increased premiums more than 100 per cent in the last decade.

The other providers have also increased their charges. Aviva Health Insurance increased premium rates by 14 per cent from last March, following its April 2010 move to raise family plan costs by €40 per year. On Friday they announced another 9.5 per cent hike from September which will hit 90,000 customers.

The Government's health insurance levy on all policies works out at €205 per adult and €66 per child every year.

Road Tax

New rates to be confirmed

Road Tax is on the way up, probably in the next Budget, with Department of Environment officials currently working on a review of tax bands.

NCT €50 a year

All vehicles 10 years of age or older will now have to take the €50 National Car Test every year instead of every two years.

Household Charge to replace TV licence Rate to be confirmed

The TV licence fee remains at €160 a year -- but Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pat Rabbitte wants to replace the licence fee with a new household charge, because more and more people are watching TV on their computers.

Road Tolls

New rates to be confirmed

Every single stretch of the upgraded M50 motorway around the capital will now be tolled, and up to eight new tolls will be introduced on bypasses and main roads around the country.

Sunday Independent