Cllr Tom Fortune speaking with the media says the announcement by government to delay property tax increases is cynical and is really driven by the fact we have local and European elections on the 24th May followed by the prospect of a general election in the autumn.
Cllr Fortune said “To be talking about increase to property tax in the height of a housing crisis, with a shortage of supply driving prices up and with Brexit not sorted and any outcome likely to affect people’s incomes is totally unfair. Property has got far more expensive since 2013 driven artificially in my view. PEOPLE’S ABILITY TO PAY IS A MAJOR ISSUE.”
When it is put to Cllr Fortune that people living in high value properties should be paying the tax, he said in his view the whole basis of the property tax is wrong and unfair. “You cannot spend your property. To the question of people being rich because they own their property (HOME), that is fine if you sell your property and go and live in a shed somewhere , so by that crazy definition, you have cash are rich, but that is not reality.”
Cllr Fortune said “His main point is that the way the tax was introduced from the start was grossly unfair e.g East coast property prices verses the rest of the country, a very ordinary house in Dublin, Wicklow, Kildare and Meath have high values. Also the services it was promised to deliver locally is not happening mainly because central government reduced the local government to local authorities by the amount of the property tax income.
I believe that national government should not be replicated at local level. That this is a real challenge when you are discussing an area such as property tax. Unfortunately big party whip system always try and control things. That it is better for local democracy when it is not controlled by national government. We need more Independent Councillors at local level.
The bottom line on this government decision is all about self preservation due to local and European elections in May. I know from my meetings with constitutions that the key issue with LPT is people’s ability to pay and a lack of services that were promised. In a word this is just CYNICAL.”