Saturday 20 April 2019

Laura Larkin: 'Householders deserve answers - and soon'

 

'A property tax freeze would be a nice boon for Fine Gael candidates as they knock on doors'
'A property tax freeze would be a nice boon for Fine Gael candidates as they knock on doors'
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Leo Varadkar's latest intervention on the local property tax will be welcomed by anxious homeowners - but he could do more to put their minds at ease.

The Taoiseach and Fine Gael leader said the review of the controversial tax is done and reiterated plans to ensure the "vast majority" of people pay tax at the same levels.

Only a short time ago he told a Fine Gael event that keeping the rates essentially as they are for people was "simple". The next day he said it may not actually be that simple.

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The much-anticipated review was due to be completed last August but Mr Varadkar has yet to give a date for its publication, other than to say it will have to be "well before" the re-evaluations are due in November.

Fianna Fáil's local election anxiety means they want to see the review. The party would like to know what it is up against as the parties battle for control on councils nationwide in May's elections.

Fine Gael has made no secret of efforts to topple Fianna Fáil as the largest party at local level. The elections - which will run the same day as the European elections - are the first electoral test for Mr Varadkar since he became leader of the party.

A property tax freeze - and a potential promise that councillors will have more say in rates from now on - would be a nice boon for Fine Gael candidates as they knock on doors.

Homeowners - especially in Dublin - will be reassured by the noises coming from Government Buildings, but they deserve to know the shape of the proposals. And they deserve a decision to be made as soon as possible - election timing notwithstanding.

Irish Independent

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