Tuesday 16 January 2018

Squeeze away, but there won't even be pips left to squeak

The household charge is a tax too far on people who have already endured pay cuts and unfair levies, writes Eilis O'Hanlon

Amid all the misery, at last a fleck of good news. Phil Hogan says that the new household charge, set to be introduced next January, will include exemptions for those "under pressure in terms of their mortgages".

So basically the entire country then? Phew, that's a relief. For a moment there I thought we were all going to be landed with another additional burden by a political class which still doesn't seem to understand the difficulty of keeping your head above water when you don't have guaranteed salaries, perks and pensions like they do.

Of course, that's not what the Minister for the Environment means. Social welfare recipients will have any new charges paid for them by the State, but proving that you're "under pressure" with mortgage repayments will be somewhat trickier. How's that going to work? Just take the 25,000 or so who are in arrears and let them have a discount on the household charge? That's hardly fair on the people who are putting themselves through purgatory every month to avoid going into arrears.

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