Sinn Féin’s Finance Spokesperson Deputy Pearse Doherty has described as “scandalous but unsurprising” the news that the money generated by the Local Property Tax will not go back into local areas.
When the property tax was introduced Fine Gael and Labour justified it as a revenue-generating measure for the funding of local services. However, it has now been made clear by various government representatives, including Minister Hogan that finance generated by the tax will not go back into the localities in which it was raised.
Deputy Doherty said:
“We are now seeing the reality of what Sinn Féin has been saying for a very long time about the property tax. Originally 80% of the amount raised was supposedly ring-fenced for local authorities.
“We were sold a pig in a poke when Phil Hogan, with much fanfare, unveiled it as being a solution to the crumbling of our local services. The fact that the money is going to be appropriated by central government is scandalous but unsurprising.
“We can all remember the glossy leaflets that were sent to every home in state marketing the property tax as the answer to all our problems. The leaflets displaying bright images of children enjoying brilliantly maintained playgrounds is just one example of the disingenuous the way they went about positioning the tax.
“I am perplexed as to why anybody would be surprised at the news. The property tax and the household charge before it are simply measures to plug the chasm in public finances left by the continuing payments to bondholders. In addition to this we have an economy being smothered to death by a government that is devoid of a strategy for stimulus and jobs creation.
“Not a penny for the 2013 take will come back into local areas and people are already receiving letter demands for their 2014 payment. Labour TDs who calling for only an extension of the payment deadline have no idea of the hardship out there. An extension just kicks the can down the road for struggling families. Sinn Féin in Government would scrap the Property Tax.”