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Market values

• It is less than two weeks before Christmas and Environment Minister Phil Hogan is issuing warnings about paying the €100 household charge on time and before the end of March next year.

Threats have been issued before exemption lists have been published, which is consistent with the horror stories leaked before the Budget was announced.

The reality is that many so-called homeowners are in fact mortgage payers and the home is owned by the bank or building society.

This is not a tax on wealth but a way of forcing families to contribute €100 towards the government coffers.

This €100 will be a pittance for some and a huge imposition for others. People trying to own their own home are being targeted based on some naive assumption that they have a greater ability to pay than those renting.

This Government can no longer pretend to represent those who voted for it either economically or politically. We will have a referendum on EU treaty change only if there is a legal requirement to do so.

Politically we are being signed up for greater austerity in a flawed euro system with no reference being made by Taoiseach Enda Kenny to the core problem: an ineffectual ECB.

We are signing up to a system that punishes governments for a lack of control in the money market when the ECB has all the tools and takes none of the responsibility.

Failing to deal with the core issue of an out-of-control money market where wealthy speculators dictate to the politicians is a world problem that cannot be kicked down the road without huge threats to domestic economies.

Vested interests in London as well as the inevitable fallout in our own IFSC set-up mean we need to be part of a global solution.

The people most hurt by last week's Budget are not those with the most ability to pay; next time it will be worse unless politicians summon the moral courage to face down the wealthy of this world and impose some sort of a moral obligation in the form of a progressive taxation of speculation.

The UK is right in insisting that this should be a world agreement, otherwise it would stand to lose far more than any other European country in the process as money would move away from the London markets.

The combination of taxation on speculation and a real European Central Bank that regulates and inspects banking in the eurozone with teeth and acts as a lender of last resort is the way forward.

Caitriona McClean
Lucan, Co Dublin

Irish Independent