“The same amount of water has existed on earth for 2 billion years; today only 1% is accessible – fit for human consumption.
Water is a human right. No one owns water.” Trócaire.
The cabinet meeting today has ended without any agreement on: Water charges, the associated expected Standing Charge or any person’s ability to pay or indeed the expected costs for each householder. A special cabinet meeting however could now be convened over the coming days if advisors from Fine Gael and Labour can reach a final deal.
Local election candidates in the business of knocking on doors seeking re-election here in Tipperary are, so far at least, more inclined to shove their election literature, marked “Sorry we missed you,” through letter boxes rather than engage in any real dialogue with their voting public. (Then again, at my age, I could be going slightly deaf.)
But one thing is for sure, the fight back by angry working class residents opposed to paying for a basic human right has begun to gather pace throughout the country and one must wonder will this new ‘workers revolution’ just end there.
All of the media chat over the past weeks has been about water charges and jailing of bankers, but from tomorrow, changes to our carbon tax rates are due to take effect.
The application of the carbon tax to solid fuels i.e. coal and commercial peat (mainly peat briquettes and some turf products) will mean, from tomorrow, May 1st 2014, an increase in price of €1.20 – €1.30 in the case of coal (1 x 40kg bag) and 26 cents in the case of a bale of briquettes, based on current prices.
The Fuel Allowance, a payment made under the National Fuel Scheme to assist with home heating and payable to people on long-term social welfare payments, will continue to be paid at a rate of €20 per household per week over a 26 week period in 2014. This means that this assistance applies for half of the year, with the budget for the fuel allowance for 2014 estimated at €208 million.
While those in receipt of long-term social welfare payments genuinely do need this assistance, one must also look at the plight of those working full time on the minimal pay scale. Two 40kg bags of coal, the minimum required per household to keep warm, will now add an extra cost of €2.40- €2.60 per week at least and over this same 26 week period, €62.40 – €67.60 from their pay packet.
Carbon Tax was a measure introduced in Budget 2010, with its application to solid fuels being subject to a Ministerial commencement order. It was postponed in 2012, given the overall major tax increases in Budget 2012, but you can now add this new Carbon Tax cost to our proposed Water Tax costs.
Last week Taoiseach Enda Kenny stated that ‘Water Charges’ would be the last of the taxation burden to be implemented on the Irish people.