Saturday 20 January 2018

Delaying water charges is not the right move

Everybody remembers the fiasco of the household charge, introduced as a forerunner to the full-scale property tax. The charge was only €100 a year, but it was manifestly unfair to treat cottages and castles alike, without regard to their respective size. Much of the hoped-for revenue remains uncollected.

Now the Government hopes to avoid similar trouble from the introduction of water charges. But its actions in this respect do not appear to be well judged. Installation of water meters has not yet begun. In their absence, it will of course be impossible for the authorities to assess the correct charge, based on consumption over a certain level.

However, a flat tax on the model of the household charge would be deeply unpopular – and this at a time of considerable public discontent and puzzlement over the assessments for property tax.

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