Same families will be hit again if property tax applied to social housing, Barnardos

23 Jan 2013 in Press Releases, Advocacy, Featured

Dublin, 23 January 2013 – Barnardos has expressed shock that tenants of Local Authority housing could be faced with a rent increase to help Local Authorities meet their property tax bill. The children’s charity said that Government and Revenue must reconsider applying the property tax to social housing given the impact it will to have on tenants, especially families.

Barnardos’ CEO, Fergus Finlay said “We know these families are already reeling from cutbacks made in Budget 2013 and previous Budgets. Many are living in poverty and barely able to provide for their children. A family with three children will lose €456 this year due to cuts in Child Benefit and this will increase to €606 if they receive the Back to School Clothing and Footwear Allowance. It is shocking to think that they will be effectively subject to the property tax when they do not own the property.”

The property tax is due to be collected in July 2013 and Revenue has already stated that each Local Authority will have to self assess the value of their stock. There is no special rate for providers of social housing.

Details of how each Local Authority plans to pay for that tax are yet to be finalised, with many awaiting guidance from the Department of Finance/ Department of the Environment. However, South Dublin County Council has already signalled a rent increase, based on ability to pay. New rent bands will be piloted this year and rolled out next year.

Mr Finlay said “Applying the property tax to providers of social housing is extremely unfair.  In many cases the quality of the housing stock is already poor with many Local Authorities unable to afford to maintain the upkeep of houses and apartments. Effectively passing the charge onto tenants who are already experiencing poverty and hardship is unacceptable. If the tax is to be progressive then a fairer and more equitable approach must be explored with regards to Local Authorities.”

ENDS

For further information, please contact:

Barnardos press office: 01 7080442

Rachel Boyce; 01 7080443, 086 3683071

About Barnardos
Barnardos supports children whose well-being is under threat, by working with them, their families and communities and by campaigning for the rights of children. Barnardos was established in Ireland in 1962 and is Ireland’s leading independent children’s charity. www.barnardos.ie 

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