Anti-household tax campaign group hits out at Government guilt-trip
By Martina Nee
The Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes group has blasted the Government and local authorities in Galway for what it describes as attempt to “guilt” people into paying the controversial household charge.
The comment by the national campaign group comes in the wake of news earlier this week that the Department of the Environment has notified both the Galway City Council and the Galway County Council that funding cuts of more than €3 million could be implemented if the €100 household charge is not paid by those who continue to refuse to pay it. The group has also strongly hit out at suggestions made by a city councillor, and reported in the local media, that those who refuse to pay the household charge are effectively holding the city to ransom with threats that services will be severely affected as a result of non-payment.
It is understood that household charge compliance will be taken into account when Local Government Fund payments are allocated to the local authorities, and that approximately 27,000 householders in Galway county and approximately 8,000 households in the city have yet to pay the charge. Reminder letters have been sent out urging householders who have not already done so to pay up.
Speaking to the Advertiser Conor Burke of the Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes said the group “completely refutes the claims that non-payers are to blame for the shortfall in the local government budget. The reality is that the Labour and Fine Gael Government cut €170 million from the local government fund at the last Budget and then tried to force this unjust tax on ordinary home owners in order to make up the shortfall that they themselves had created. Home owners are already being hammered by things like the universal social charge, the pension levy, tax increases, cuts to welfare and other allowances, rising fuel and insurance costs to name but a few. They rightly see these charges as a bridge too far and are now making a stand. Ever since the onset of the economic crisis these sort of devastating budget cuts have been heaped onto the shoulders of workers, homeowners, and families all in the name of saving bankers, bond holders, and speculators from the consequences of their own blunders... for anyone to turn around now and try to place the blame on beleaguered home owners for taking a stand just goes to show how out of touch with reality they are.
“Nationally over 52 per cent of home owners are still refusing to pay these unfair unjust charges, it is no wonder the political establishment are nervous, they know that they can't enforce these charges if large amounts of people refuse to pay, and now they are getting desperate with threatening letters and wild claims aimed at trying to guilt people into paying. If anyone is a threat to local services than surely it is these same bankers, bond holders, and speculators and a Government that seems to care more about enriching them at the expense of its own people.”
Mr Burke continued: “The campaign is currently distributing thousands of leaflets across the city and county which address the issue of the Government’s threatening letters and answer any questions or concerns that home owners may have. A number of public meetings will also take place in the coming weeks. Our message to those who are maintaining the boycott is to keep it up, together we will defeat these unfair and unjust charges.”