FIANNA FAIL and the Green Party are pressing ahead with their plans for a domestic water tax. Environment Minister, John Gormely, has stated that he hopes to raise €1 billion in revenue – from the 1.1 million households in the country. This would average out at €1000 per household!
The Green Party, attempting to justify hitting working people with more taxes, have claimed that installing meters and giving people a “free allocation” of water is a progressive measure. This is a lie. There is nothing to stop future governments from lowering the amount of “free allocation” and thereby increasing the bills for people. The abolishment of the bin tax waiver and the massive increased cost of bin charges illustrates that once these charges are established the burden on people increases. Instead of wasting €500 million plus installing water meters, these monies should be used instead to start a campaign to fix the leaking pipe and bring them up to European standard given that UK studies show that meters/charging do not reduce water usage in the long term.
Because of the determination of this government to make us pay for the economic crisis, there is now the real possibility that instead of waiting for water meters to be installed, the government may push ahead with a flat charge from December’s budget.
I believe water charges should be resisted whether they are based on metering or as a flat charge. Bin charges which have led to an ever-increasing financial burden on households and to privatisation of the sector show that the proposed water tax is not in the interests of ordinary people.
A mass campaign based in the communities is necessary to force the government to back down and I am committed to helping build the new Anti Water Tax Campaign and prepare the ground for a mass non-payment campaign.