Public ‘bullied’ on household charge

The public is being ‘bullied’ into paying the household charge by witholding money from county councils, according to Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley.

The public is being ‘bullied’ into paying the household charge by witholding money from county councils, according to Laois/Offaly TD Brian Stanley.

THE Sinn Fein TD levelled the claim at Minister for the Enviornment Phil Hogan in response to news that council’s could loose funds and face having to cut services.

“Minister Phil Hogan’s decision to withhold millions of euros from Local Council was an attempt to bully people into paying the unfair Household Charge,” he said.

Deputy Stanlye said that imposing further cuts on local government will have a serious impact on the provision of services for hundreds of thousands of families.

Deputy Stanley said council’s were never told their annual funding would depend on taking in the household charge.

“Now, half way through the year, the Fine Gael/Labour Government say they are going to immediately withhold millions of euros from Councils which will have a serious impact on the provision of essential services.

“Laois County Council will be deducted €409,000 from their 3rd quarter funding with a threatened cut of €1.2 million for the final quarter. This is an utter disgrace and once again Phil Hogan is trying to avoid any public scrutiny of his disastrous policies by doing this during the Dáil recess. So much for their promise to change the way we do politics in this country,” he claimed.

Dep Stanley the Household Charge was a bad idea and has been mishandled from the start.

“It was ill-conceived, poorly implemented and has little public support,” he said.

Last week Laois County Council’s county manager Peter Carey warned that services would be cut if the household charge was not paid although he expects most people to pay €100 charge.

Mr Carey said €1.4 million has been paid in Laois. The 14,000 who had paid represent just half of the estimated number who are due to pay said Mr Carey. He added that that the national compliance average is 58 per cent.