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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Finance (Local Property Tax Repeal) Bill 2013 [Private Members]: Second Stage (Resumed)

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Deputy Joan Collins

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Snippet Contents:

I support the Bill to repeal the unfair family home tax legislation which should never have been enacted in the first place. Last year, more than 1 million households boycotted the household tax and thousands and thousands of households held off from registering until the very last minute, which is indicative of the opposition of ordinary people to the draconian legislation. It is not a wealth tax as the Labour Party has stated. Less than 2% of the revenue which will be collected will come from homes worth more than €1 million. People registered in anger, dismay, anxiety and distress. I had elderly people in my office who were crying as they asked what the hell was going on and why the Government was breaking them like this. The Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, says the public believes the tax is fair, to which I reply "codswallop". What is fair about draconian taxation that imposes penalties. if one cannot pay, of 4% simple interest? People were bullied and threatened and they could not afford not to pay. We saw the overvaluation of homes, issues with tax clearance certificates and the absence of an organised fight-back through the trade union movement, even though hundreds of thousands of workers put down motions at their conferences.
What is happening is exactly what we said would happen. VAT returns are already down by €250 million. I was in a local DID shop yesterday and was told that in January, February and March things seemed to be turning around whereas in the last three months trade has been as dead as a dodo. People are really getting frightened now as one sees when one talks to people on the ground. Tesco, which is one of the largest supermarket retailers in the country, has linked the fall in its sales of 3% directly to the announcement of the local property tax. This is a hated tax and this is a hated Government.
I will continue to oppose the family home tax. I agree with Deputy Pringle's point that it is well for Sinn Féin to come out and launch a national campaign to repeal the tax when it should have been out on the streets to oppose it before.