70% of householders have paid charge, says Minister Phil Hogan

Thursday 27 December 2012 23.54
The household charge has resulted in the collection of over €113m
The household charge has resulted in the collection of over €113m

Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan has said that 70% of those liable to pay the household charge had done so.

In a statement, Mr Hogan said end of year figures giving the numbers who had paid the household charge show how wrong critics were about how much would be collected.

The minister thanked and commended those who had registered the more than 1.1 million properties.

Sinn Féin accused the minister of trying to spin the end-of-year figures. 

"Twelve months ago when this charge was introduced there was plenty of doom merchants who said the charge would not be collected and people wouldn't pay. How wrong they were," Mr Hogan said.

"70% of those liable to pay the charge have done so and I commend all those households for doing the right thing.

"We had elected representatives who actively encouraged people to break the law and not pay the charge" the minister added.

"These self-same people are now calling for more funding for local authorities and at the same time encouraging people not to pay."

The minister said the charge had resulted in the collection of more than €113m which would be reallocated to local authorities through the Local Government Fund.

Local Government Management Agency Chief Executive Paul McSweeney described the figures as a great result.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, he said: "We are still seeing an increase of about half a million to €600,000 per week, so about 4,500 to 5,000 properties per week are still being registered."

On New Year's Day, the household charge will be abolished and will be replaced with the Local Property Tax.

For liable persons who did not pay the household charge in 2012, and who pay the charge to the Local Government Management Agency by 30 April 2013, arrears will be capped at €130.

From 1 July next year, any outstanding household charge will be increased to €200 and added to Local Property Tax due on the property.