Questions that should be put to the Minister | Michael Taft

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Questions that should be put to the Minister | Michael Taft

Michael Taft on progressive-economy.ie has some questions that Phil Hogan should answer on the universal 100 euro a year household charge, which the minister says he can’t even promise will remain at that figure over the next two years it will be imposed.

One question is “Why is the Minister introducing a regressive, flat-rate household charge when (a) there is no reference to it in the EU-IMF deal, and (b) the Government has declared that it is free to substitute measures in the deal?”

The imposition of the household charge is, to put it bluntly, a political choice. It is also, in economic terms, a highly irrational one.

Already, the spin being put out is that it’s only €2 a week. However, if we are to believe the findings of the ‘What’s Left’ tracker published by the League of Irish Credit Unions, that €2 will impose a further substantial burden on households and the economy.

The tracker found in July that 750,000 people (or approximately 20 percent of the adult population) had only €70 each month after paying bills. A €100 charge will reduce this discretionary spend by 12 percent. A further 250,000 had no money left after paying their bills. The €100 charge will send them into negative balance.

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Donagh is the editor of Irish Left Review. Contact Donagh through email: dublinopinionAtgmail.com