No Laois figures for household charge

Head of Finance at Laois County Council has said there was no real need for a March 31 deadline for the Household Charge, and says they are still in the dark as to how many homeowners in Laois have paid, because there is still a backlog of 80,000 postal applications in Dublin yet to be processed,

Head of Finance at Laois County Council has said there was no real need for a March 31 deadline for the Household Charge, and says they are still in the dark as to how many homeowners in Laois have paid, because there is still a backlog of 80,000 postal applications in Dublin yet to be processed,

A month ago, the national figure of those who hadn’t paid the €100 charge stood at 43 per cent, Gerry Murphy says, which he believes will affect services later in the year.

“At this point in time it is a significant. It never needed to be paid by March 31, but every 10 per cent not paid is a shortfall of €180,000. That will affect service delivery. I would appeal to people to pay it as soon as possible,” he said.

Only a small part of the council’s €56.7 million annual budget is to come from the Household Charge (€1.8 million), with the rest coming from government grants for areas including roads and housing. The council have already received half of their overall budget from the government this year.

26,000 Laois households are believed to be eligible to pay the charge, now gone up to €112 including interest.

Council staff will be chasing up homeowners that haven’t paid in the coming weeks, Mr Murphy also revealed at this month’s county council meeting.

“We will have a role, probably some time in June, in contacting households,” he said.

A Rathdowney man campaigning against the household charge disputes Mr Murphy’s figures however. Ray Fitzpatrick, the Laois Offaly leader of the Campaign Against Household Taxes, says the actual figure eligible to pay in Laois is over 28,000.

“When you look at the facts and figures the government have put into the public domain, the Head of Finance is being disingenous. In Laois we are told 9,124 have registered out of 26,185 again we see the government’s slight of hand as the number of households liable, have been decreased by 2,283. This is understating by 8 per cent the number of housing units that must register and pay in the county. So whether you accept the government’s spin or the hard facts the bottom line either way tells a very significant tale; for every household that has registered in Laois, two have not,” he says.