“Total hypocrisy” is how Minister Phil Hogan described Sinn Feins’ Back the Bill Campaign, during his visit to Tullamore last week.
On the day that Laois/Offaly Deputy Brian Stanley launched the Bill to repeal the Household Charge, Minister Hogan said it was hypocritical “that Sinn Fein should be trying to eliminate a charge that they are already implementing in Northern Ireland that costs an average of €900 per household.
“I think Sinn Fein should be consistent in their policies,” he said.
Sinn Féin spokesperson on the Environment, Community & Local Government, Deputy Stanley has urged all TDs to vote yes on June 20.
Speaking at the launch of Sinn Féin’s Back the Bill campaign, Deputy Stanley explained “Sinn Féin opposes the Household Charge. On June 19 we will introduce a bill, the Local Government (Household Charge) (Repeal) Bill 2012. This Bill aims to reverse the Household Charge and reimburse all those who have paid the charge.
“The charge was introduced in last year’s budget because the Fine Gael/Labour government cut the funding to local authorities. The funding was taken from local government and redirected to bail out zombie banks. A yes vote on June 20 will consign the Household Charge to the rubbish bin of history,” he said.
The local Deputy said people should not be paying for local government services twice as households already have to pay for services including waste collection, call out charges for the fire brigade, septic tank charges and soon water charges.
“Sinn Féin believes that the household charge is a double tax and should be resisted. It is grossly unfair as it penalises those on middle and low incomes. Millionaires will pay the same as pensioners and lone parents, who have had their benefits cut,” he said.
Deputy Stanley said the Government could have made other choices. Funding and savings could have been made from options such as the introduction of a new third rate of tax of 48% on income earned by individuals in excess of €100,000 which would raise €410 million.
Sinn Fein are also advocting the abolition of ‘Group relief’ availed of by companies to transfer losses to profitable companies and write down tax receipts which they claim would raise €450.3 million.
They also suggest the abolitions of legacy property reliefs and placing a cap all public servants wages at €100,000 per annum.
“Any one of the above would have more than covered the cost of local government services but instead Fine Gael & Labour TDs chose to dip deeper into our pockets,” he said.
He added that Sinn Féin launched the Back the Bill campaign to encourage residents groups, trade unions and campaign groups to support this bill. “We are happy to have received support from both Unite and Mandate trade unions, the Dublin Council of Trade Unions and a number of community groups. We have written to SIPTU and the TEEU and are confident that others will come out in support of this bill.
“The public now has an opportunity to put pressure on government TDs in reverse this unjust and unworkable household Charge. I am encouraging all TDs to vote Yes on the June 20 and support this bill,” he concluded.