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€200 levy a step too far for families

A proposal to impose a €200 household charge on working families from next year doesn't sound that dramatic. It's less than €4 a week, and it's the kind of money that, not too long ago, would have been spent by many families on a good night out.

But that was before lower wages, higher taxes and redundancies put the squeeze on family incomes.

A survey today shows that one in four people has less than €20 a week to spend after the essential bills have been paid.

The same survey also shows that half of all adults are unable to meet all their financial obligations each month -- and regularly are late paying bills.

Against this backdrop, a €200 charge is a burden most people can do without.

Yes, we know the Government has a massive job to try to balance the books. But, increasingly, so do most ordinary households.