From the Union this morning:

17th February, 2012

SIPTU NEC calls for suspension of proposed Household Charge

The National Executive Council (NEC) of SIPTU has called on the Government to suspend the proposed Household Charge on the basis that it is unfair and regressive.

At its monthly meeting today (Friday, 17th February) the NEC unanimously supported a motion stating that;

“The Household Charge as currently proposed by the Government is a flat tax which is unfair and regressive in that it subsidises wealthy people at the expense of middle and low income families. The NEC supports the principle of a fair and progressive property tax which is proportionate and which recognises that wealthy households can afford to pay more than those with modest earnings while those on lower incomes should be exempt.

We call on the Government to suspend the introduction of the Household Charge until it is replaced by a fair and progressive property tax. The way the tax is currently being implemented is playing into the hands of those wealthy and vested interests who oppose the very principle of a fair and progressive property tax system.

The Government estimates that payment of the charge by the 1.6m eligible households will yield €160m in 2012. By way of an interim alternative source of revenue until a progressive property tax regime can be put in place we are calling for a suspension of the legacy property tax reliefs.

We have previously called on the Government to introduce a solidarity levy on those earning over €100,000 which would also make up for lost revenues from the proposed Household Charge.

The immediate suspension of all unused section 23 tax reliefs and accelerated capital allowances has the potential to save the Exchequer close to €100m in tax foregone this year.

Restricting landlord mortgage interest relief for both residential and non-residential properties by 10% would bring in an estimated €75m, which together with the suspension of the unused tax reliefs would more than offset the loss of €160m in additional tax revenues from the Household Charge, saving the Exchequer up to €175m.”