Taxes postponed

It now looks as if neither property taxes nor water charges will feature in the next budget. Shifting the tax burden from income to property and resource use would provide a welcome stimulus to the economy. That said, water charges need water meters and property taxes need a valuation database — and the government does not appear to have put much thought into these matters since the Commission on Taxation released its recommendations.

The upshot, of course, is that spending will need to be cut further and that income taxes will stay high for longer.

68 replies on “Taxes postponed”

I’m sure it doesn’t matter to the Brian’s when they can take it out on services and social welfare payments instead. The ‘whatever’ option.

@Richard Tol – you think that taxes are high in Ireland?

This is a bad sign. It shows that the government believes it can cure everything with large spending cuts and a bit of fiddling with incomes taxes. (As well as showing how a South Dublin TD can have disproportionate sway, as by not bringing this in, other TDs’ constituents are effectively subsidising his.)

This will also have an impact on the housing market. Either people will realise that this is unsustainable and thus postpone their purchase until it is introduced or at least announced in full, so they know the consequences of their decisions. Or else they will think this is sustainable, and make decisions now under incomplete information about future tax liabilities and we may end up in a situation where either the right property tax gets introduced and all hell breaks loose, or else to save face politically, the wrong property tax gets introduced.

Income tax rates are certainly high. It’s the tax free allowances that skew the whole thing so that the median earner pays very very little in tax.

If you add taxes, levies, contributions and whatnots together then, at the high end of the income distribution, the marginal government average take is 50%.

Ireland lost competitiveness because labour costs rose faster than labour productivity. Labour productivity changes only slowly, so the quick way out is cutting wages or cutting labour taxes.

I wonder what value we have extracted from the lengthy Commission on Taxation investigation. Carbon taxes at or around ETS price, Richard could have told B.Lenihan that over the phone. Anything else?

I think that the mail failing here is the latency of Govt tax policy, in that if it cant get this done, what else can it do or not do in seeking to serve the nations ends.

Backing of this solves a temporary short term political problem, but ignores or re-inforces a greater problem of a lack of dynamism in the Govt ability to get things done.

But that would be a problem for a leadership…

Retro-fitting water meters is costly. During the 1990s new homes had to be constructed so as to accommodate the possible future introduction of meters, but this requirement was scrapped in a pre-election vote-grab in 1996. Had the requirement been maintained, most homes in the country could now easily be metered. A fine piece of policy vandalism.

Is it at all possible that the current government is actually trying to avoid taking major headline grabbing tax raising decisions in advance of the next general election merely to ensure that it means the next government (FG and Labour in all probability) will have to do this hence denting their popularity very quickly and thus giving FF a route back to power within one election?

Why cant an area or neighbour have one meter and a cost worked out on the number of residences, business, etc against the amount of water entering the area at the junction from the main pipe.

Expletive, expletive, expletive….

The tone of the article and comments from politicians quoted in it seems to suggest that this is exactly the intention. As Homer’s election slogan went, “Can’t Someone Else Do It?”

@ Daniel

Even so, that situation would be a better outcome than the current or proposed systems..

Al, if you think there would be less resistance to group metering that to individual metering you’ve got to be kidding me. People in every housing estate (public and private) know there are free loaders and corner cutters in their midst and they will no more accept paying as a group when Seanie down the road is practically filling a pool every day with fresh water than they would pay for group housing insurance.

Here’s a solution for water charges/meters:

Certify N makes of water meter. Let those with a certified meter be charged for their actual use. Let those without a meter be charged for the average water production per household.

There is no data on actual water use, but it is probably some 150 litre per person per day. Average water production is some 450 litre per person per day.

This proposal will also provide useful data about the maximum speed at which water meters can be installed by the private sector, as well as useful data on the size of the black economy.

The initial system in the UK for water charges was a flat rate payment pegged at a level where the average household would use less (and so have a lower bill) if they had a meter. As I recall, the meters were relatively cheap and fixed price per area, but the companies got a tax benefit also?

@ Dan,

There will be negative consequnces if the present govt does this. They have agreed a multi year fiscal consolidation plan with Brussels (our new masters). Moreover, they have also agreed a deal with the unions which prioritises established public servants over public services. So the inevitable outcomes will be more cuts in service provsion, more contract workers in the public service laid off and more charges for diminished public services. It als probably means an increase in the average and marginal payroll deduction (from 63%).

Fiddling with the economy is not going to change the bad governance that led us into this situation — and will do so again unless we have a root and branch change in the way we run the country. That said, what is wrong with a local income tax? You don’t need meters nor rates and the IT is in place for Revenue to collect. County councils would set their own tax levels. What is missing is that we have no functioning local government. Local administration of centrally directed policy, which is what we have, is a disaster.

If water charges are introduced, I’d like to see a large allowance at a flat rate and anything over the allowance charged by the unit. We are rainfall rich. If there isn’t a large allowance, the penny-pinchers will go smelly. Consumption will reduce, causing higher charges and even more smelly folk – and so on until it starts to hit tourism 🙂

Non-linear taxes are generally a bad idea. In this case, it would take away most of the impact on water conservation. Instead of a free water allowance, the revenue of the charges should be use to finance an increase in benefits and tax credits — so that the combined effect is equity-neutral.


I don’t see the need for major conservation. We spend a good deal of the time sheltering from rain in Ireland, so there should be a little upside. What I see happening is the DoF targetting a certain amount of revenue from water. Households will reduce consumption and revenue will come in below target. Water charges then get increased and consumption drops further.

“Certify N makes of water meter. Let those with a certified meter be charged for their actual use. Let those without a meter be charged for the average water production per household.

There is no data on actual water use, but it is probably some 150 litre per person per day. Average water production is some 450 litre per person per day.

This proposal will also provide useful data about the maximum speed at which water meters can be installed by the private sector, as well as useful data on the size of the black economy.”

This sounds like a great idea. You could even modify it by having a flat rate the first year but allowing a credit for the cost of installation of the meter if certified.

The only problem down the line is that you may end up making less from the tax than expected when it is realised that the infrastructure and not the users are the problem. Most Irish people don’t wash their cars or water their gardens!

The other problem is that it gives the well-off an advantage. I still think it is a good idea though.

People who are content with rainwater would not pay any water charges. Only piped water is paid for.

Or give a voucher to anyone with an installed meter to get the first M litres free.

Water is an essential life-element. – very, very inelastic. Just install the meters and charge for supply. Oh! Hold on. Potable water is the essential. How about we only supply non-potable water on mains – you get your drinking water from … … well you figure it out!!

Short of water. Install a rainwater catcher (filtered). You can drink that. All sorts of innovative ideas are available. Just start thinking! Big problemo with citified folk though. Better think real hard about the supply of potable water.

Tax water! Are you mad? No tax. Just charge the cost to supply. No payee. No mains water. QED. No, this won’t do either. Any ideas anyone?

When I was little I fetched our drinking water, in milk churns, from a council hydrant. Other water came from our well. If folk do not pay for mains water, then perhaps they may have to fetch (or catch) their own!

B Peter

Property tax should never have been abolished but reintroducing it now would be a disaster. property tax the highest taxes would be a disaster. It would seriously inhibit any recovery in house prices.
Daft idea and thank God FF are thinkung of the elections!

This issue (water) is being pissed about in ignorance.

If we, as a country can come up with a system of distubrution that is self financing and effiecient, then countries all over the world will be beating down on our door,

But no, we arent after that are we……..

All very well saying no property taxes, no water taxes etc, but where else is the money going to come from? As mentioned above our masters in Brussels still have to be pleased.

Unfortunately Mr Brian Lenihan appears more unhealthy every week. Perhaps the proposers for higher income tax rates smell blood and will seek to push the marginal rate closer to 60%. Strike when your opponent is weakest.

The OECD said during the bubble that Ireland was the only country of the then 30 mainly developed ones, where mortgage interest relief was available while there was no ongoing property tax.

McCreevy halved the CGT to 20% and the tax cut paid for itself was the mantra.

The rich usually are the ones who do well from a system of artificial land scarcity and low or non-existent land taxes.

Former Taoiseach Albert Reynolds put his Ailesbury Rd. house on the market in 2007 before the bust in 2007; the asking price was €15m up from a purchase price in 1995 of less than €900,000.

The capital gain was tax free.

So no property tax and reform of the rent-seeking rezoning system which makes land scarce in a country that is 4% urbanised, is also not up for debate.

Even the Labour Party has nothing to say on the issue while the Green’s promise last year during the NAMA debate to have an 80% tax on windfall gains, has been quietly shelved.

Apart from the crash, a public tribunal on planning corruption has been sitting in a place called Limbo, since 1997.

For small farmers, like the biggest ones, also on public CAP welfare, any change would be like abolishing the Lotto. Who would want to disillusion the cargo cultists?

In 2001, the IFA won a sweetheart deal from the Government on land for roadbuilding. It was benchmarking for farmers and the IFA leader then joined a ‘free enterprise’ party called the PDs.

In 2006, the National Roads Authority said land costs accounted for 23% of the roadbuilding budget – – but just 12% in England, 10% in Denmark, 9.4% in Greece and 1% in Iceland.

One landowner along the route of the €810m Shannon tunnel received €10m from the state, according to figures recently released by Limerick County Council which show that €56.5m was spent on the Compulsory Purchase of land for the project. 

Martin Wolf wrote in the FT on Friday on the UK system which : “creates calamitous political incentives. In a world in which people have borrowed heavily to own a location, they are desperate to enjoy land price rises and, still more, to prevent price falls. Thus we see a bizarre spectacle: newspapers hail upward moves in the price of a place to live – the most basic of all amenities. The beneficiaries are more than land speculators. They are also enthusiastic supporters of efforts to rig the market. Particularly in the UK, they welcome the creation of artificial scarcity of land, via a ludicrously restrictive regime of planning controls. This is the most important way in which wealth is transferred from the unpropertied young to the propertied old. In his new book, David Willetts, the universities minister, emphasises the unfairness of the distribution of wealth across generations. The rigged land market is the biggest single cause of this calamity.”

I can understand the allure of stealth taxes for politicians.

Jean Baptiste Colbert (1619–83), Minister for Finance to French King Louis XIV reputedly said: “The art of taxation consists in so plucking the goose as to obtain the largest possible amount of feathers with the smallest possible amount of hissing.”

This is why Gormley and Andrews do not wish to have property tax encumbrances on our current lords of the manor.

Research in the UK showed that someone in the bottom 20% of the income spectrum pays about £250,000 in taxes in their lifetime. Someone in the top 20% pays £1.2m in taxes. But those at the top will own property and see their total tax liability wiped out in just a couple of years by rising property values. This does not happen to the bottom 20%, since they are renters.

Finally, Adam Smith said more than two centuries ago that a land tax was a “peculiarly suitable” way to raise revenue since it did not distort people’s incentives to work, save and invest.

Why not charge 2000 euro the first year, 4000 the following year and so on. Until everyone has installed their own meter. All this fiddlefaddle. If you do not want to install a meter, grand then, but you will pay a premium for the privilege. People are thinking about this backwards. They should be forced to install and pay for their own meter.

Tax, no matter what form, means diverting money from personal to national expenditure. Normally not a big deal. In this country, at this time, it means diversion from personal expenditure into the bottomless pit of Anglo.
Any tax increase will lead to further deflation of the economy and bring us closer to default.
This economy is dying. We can take blood, put in drips, and faff around all we like this economy is terminally ill from an overload of debt.
We need to let it die. Another one will come in it’s wake.

I think its the right move by the government, for the wrong reasons. Expenditure went through the roof over the last ten years, so austerity measures are the best way to restore a modicum of balance. If we were at 2004 levels of expenditure we’d be just about breaking even – its not that hard to reach that level, nor should it be overly burdensome.

Of course as has already been pointed out by others here, this is being done to put any possible tax increases on the long finger until after the next election, every move by the government has been to enhance borrowing capacity towards that end, which is fairly unbelievable when you think about it.

On property taxes, yes, but not on the PPR. Your home shouldn’t be rented from the government. A sliding scale for second and subsequent properties would be the best way forward.

On water rates, fix the leaks that cause in the region of half of the processed potable water in the country to seep out before ever reaching a tap, then come back and talk to me. Actually I wouldn’t mind paying water rates for a limited time to cover the fixes needed in the water (water!) infrastructure.

Local authorities are not to my knowledge charging rates for empty commercial properties at the moment. By starting to charge these, they can cover a lot of the shortfalls in income, and at the same time give commercial landlords a strong incentive to drop the ridiculous rents they are asking for, which in turn cripples the SME sector. You can bet the rate of rents has a lot to do with ripoff Ireland.

There is no data on actual water use, but it is probably some 150 litre per person per day. Average water production is some 450 litre per person per day.

The two don’t have as simple a relationship as you suggest. Industry and farming are the elephants in the room.

Great idea re paying rates on the empty units. They would either have to drop rents or sell them. The first is good the second not so good – imagine most commercial landlords are paying off debts on those properties. Would it work?

@Eureka, coupled with a widespread push to encourage enterprise it definetely would. As things stand right now, it could go either way. If you have commercial owners dropping rents to the level of rates (an extreme and unlikely situation) in order to break even, you’ll see a lot more businesses opening up either way.

There is data on household water use, available from the National Federation of Group Water Schemes, most of whose member schemes have moved to metering in the last few years in order to qualify for capital grants for upgrading their facilities to make them potable.

As far as I know the cost of meters/installation is in the region of €200 per household, for plain vanilla visually-read meters. There are electronic remote-readable meters which cost more, both for the meter itself and and its installation.

There should be a wealth of data available from the NFGWS, as well as the civil engineering consultants used in the establishment of numerous DBO schemes around the country in the last few years.

@richard tol

if you used a system such as you mention then a heavy user of water would be incentivised to never get a meter would they not? Essentially gaining a subsidy of the ‘average metered user’ who would likely have gotten a meter because they are confident that there is a saving in the belief they don’t use a lot of water? Just wondering what your thoughts are on that.

Regarding property tax, its a failure, a land value tax would be a huge advantage if paired with a cut in income tax, we need to set income free and stop seeing it absorbed in non productive capital expenditure which is what property tends to be in the long term. The end of levies and stamp would be a welcome change, and it would take all properties into the tax net for capital projects rather than relying on new-build only main thoughts here

Tax, no matter what form, means diverting money from personal to national expenditure. Normally not a big deal. In this country, at this time, it means diversion from personal expenditure into the bottomless pit of Anglo.
Spot on. Our tax money is already being wasted in spectacular fashion.

Putting in water meters isn’t that expensive or big a deal in a time of low activity, when there is plenty of construction capacity available. It seems like a sensible fiscal stimulus and will have long term benefits. The sooner the job is started the sooner it will be finished.

“we need to set income free and stop seeing it absorbed in non productive capital expenditure which is what property tends to be in the long term.”

Agree re: need to set income free. We need a tax structure that *discourages* speculative activities that do not add value (e.g. when an existing house or building changes hands w/o any value added since it was previously purchased other than inflation, or speculative foreign currency transactions–recognizing that the latter only make sense when applied on an international basis)

Accept low likelihood of anything like this happening, but we need to at least start identifying activities that are only gambling vs activities that add value. Adjusting for inflation vs speculation?

Adding new capital to a company adds value. Does trading those shares afterwards truly add value other than speculation? (It can be leveraged to get more value for new capital–but other than this does it add value?)

There are grey areas here. They’re hard to disentangle and controversial.

Taxation policy should strive to differentiate between value-added transactions vs gambling, and treat the two differently. Income generating (value-added) activities should have lower or no tax. Speculative activities should be taxed at a much higher rate.

We’ve become too accepting of purely speculative transactions that have weakened our economic infrastructure, nationally and internationally.

@OAC its an interesting discussion, the secondary market does serve as a barometer, so there is a point, but perhaps allowing dividend to be tax free, and then have a sliding scale of CGT depending on the time you hold the share could achieve this? You can speculate, but you pay a premium to do so. Obviously, that allows you to lose and get out, but it might help to deter speculation as an industry of itself? Having said that, you might deter investment at the same time.

On the property side I think a Site Value Tax would be a great addition to the system, the near zero carry cost of property actually sets the stage for a boom-bust cycle, in particular when you can make a gain with little or no labour/input. We socialise our incomes via income tax but privatise the social income that public spending creates in site values. It’s a conundrum, and the thing that confuses me most is why such policy is not more actively pursued?

@ karl:
“in particular when you can make a gain with little or no labour/input”

On a related taxation topic: there have been interesting historical experiments in which savings were taxed rather than rewarded with interest.

Stimulus w/o debt creation?

@ Ronan Burke

Local authorities are not to my knowledge charging rates for empty commercial properties at the moment.

Not so.

“I wonder what value we have extracted from the lengthy Commission on Taxation investigation”
It got the politically toxic “hard decision” ; you know, the ones the govts taking….) deferred for a dail sitting or two, locking in some ministers pensions and saving a sea or two. Thats w priceless to the incumbents. You didn’t expect real logical decisions based on evidence or the common good did you!

There will be no porperty tax, water tax or further cuts in oublic service pay this side of the election. I suspect there will be little in the way of taxation increases at the lower end of the income spectrum-which is where the major scope for increases lies. Public services will be cut to spare the public servants and the middle classes willbe soaked for a few bob.

The really hared decisions will be left to Taoiseach Gilmore after the next election. He will rapidly turn in to an Irish Papandreau within about 6 months when he has to break every promise he made and slash and burn.

@EWI, there was a story in the Connaught Tribune a few weeks back saying that the local authority in Galway was making moves to start charging for empty commercial property, so at least in the west it seems to be the case.

If you really wanted to set the cat among the pigeons you could start charging rates to rental properties as commercial businesses (which they are) albeit at a lower rate. 😀


there already is a 200 euro tax on 2nd (and presumably 3rd etc) residences.

@OAC Sweden recently did that (their central bank) by turning rates negative by c. 25bps whereby they made the price you could borrow at cheaper than what you could deposit at, I never did find out how they avoided the natural arbitrage that would occur, but perhaps doing this put extra attraction into seeking out some reasonable risk.

In general I think savings are a good thing, and taxing them too heavily to encourage spending may not achieve what you hope for, take 2008/09 for Irish banks, so hungry for deposits that they were paying up near 6%, if you taxed that at 50% the 3% gain would be easily found in another jurisdiction, or in bonds/blue-chip dividend payers and essentially the banks would have just ratcheted the rate up further to capture that money. Hoarding is a natural thing to do when hard times are likely, squirrels do it every year coming up to winter, so you it would be tricky to discourage it for people, as well as that, savings have been a vital part of easing the pain of wage cuts etc. and although our savings rate spiked, it has previously been too low.

I’d side with the monetarists on stimulus, just increase money supply, obviously that route is not open to us but ECB are doing a good job of keeping the cogs turning and rates are staying at a historic low and likely to remain there for some time.

@ Tull Mcadoo,

Just on a side point, Yes you are correct in your statement of the 200E, and it is for each property which you own, not just your second.

Hence if you own 6 properties, then its 200 x 6 = 1200 per annum.

What I find a tad unfair is that if your property is part of a private estate, then you are being hit with a double penalty, the NPPR tax of 200E and the management fee of servicing the estate, lighting, gardening etc.

Soon some landlords will be facing financial annihilation as the Govt seeks to reduce rental subsidies for social welfare tenants (due to the fact that the cost of living has come down and also because we are broke), and banks seeking to remove interest only tracker mortgages. A double edged sword so to speak. Of course if Labour obtain the reigns of power (which may be sooner than we think) then they will be free to remove the cost of mortgage repayments in calculating profit or loss.

Courtesy of the Labour party, 100% Taxation on a loss will occur for these investors, and other investors had better watch out, because they might be next.

@Brian Lucey : of course the point of something like this is to defer and distance unpopular decisions. I wonder at what stage does a TD decide to go for broke and explain to people why decisions that sound unpalatable are actually in the common good. FF seem quite wiling to do that at the moment in regards to NAMA/Anglo etc, perhaps those decisions were not made in the common good though..

What I read about in Germany was a much smaller percentage–perhaps 1-3%–but not in recent times. It got money circulating, which helped the overall economy.

It would be interesting to learn what happened in Sweden.

Rather than hurting average prudent savers, the target might be to disadvantage (slightly) those with massive piles of dosh where it is sitting there but doing nothing productive. Same philosophy as taxing people hoarding development land for speculative purposes.

Agricultural land is not subject to rates – a property tax option that is crying out for re-introduction. Why this is so is perplexing. Farming organizations make much noise about the sector’s commercial footprint yet don’t wish to share the burden of commercial taxes carried by anything sized between a corner shop and a shopping mall. I have always believed that the lack of adequate land taxes in Ireland has helped keep land at truly ridiculously high prices and contributed to the costly (in subsidies) maintenance of sub-economic units. However given the outcry over stags and breeding bitches recently, I won’t hold my breath that gangs of rural TDs will tackle this issue fairly.

Nearly very home build since the start of the decade has management charges. The people who this will really affect are the first time buyers who are up to their necks in debt on property that is not worth what was paid for it. It will make it very hard for the people affected to sell these properties and thus trade up. Also who would buy a property that has three annual charges of several thousand euro and anyway this would also have to be taken into account by the banks when applying for a mortgage reducing the amount that could be borrowed.

abracadabra… everyone wants to mix a potion to control their neighbor. tax this, no tax this, no charge a fee, raise the tax, raise the fee,… I say stay out of your neighbors business, love your neighbor, love liberty, love justice, fight for justice not taxes, Love God, His creation, His word, His sacraments. Why don’t we apply biblical laws to the economy and government instead of trusting these short-sighted politicians? Then we could have debt forgiveness!

@Drumroe – apart from “Can I please have a pint of whatever you are drinking?” my mind is turning to an economy that is full of not-for-profit companies. I might start one next year when I’m free and totally undercut the competition in one particular area – see how it works out and simply focus on providing a good product/service to the customer and create jobs. In theory it should work because I ought to be able to provide it cheaper than the rest. I’m sure the government won’t like it if there aren’t any profits to tax though. Revolution. I wonder what the chances are of there ever being a not-for-profit bank? Mind you, some would say we may have that already 🙂

@Alchemist: what would the farmers pay it out of? The “average” farmer in every branch bar dairy would be making a loss if it wasn’t for CAP.

@Richard, re. housing valuation: I always liked the Greek antiquities valuation law. You self-value the object, and pay whatever percentage of that as tax. If Revenue-equivalent think you’ve undervalued it, they can buy it off you at that price. Encourages a certain level of honesty, one would think. “,)

1. Is Martin Wolf’s point that there should be no planning controls because that would prevent some land increasing in value? That doesn’t make much sense.

2. On water tax, does this mean that users with their own private water supply don’t get taxed? (eh, me)

3. I don’t like the instinctive rush to beat up farmers? Have you seen their incomes? The price of agricultural land is a factor (like every other product) of its availability in the market. Farming land rarely comes on the market because through the single farm payment elderly landowners have no incentive to sell it. Perhaps this might be offset by a land tax, but then you have a tax and a subsidy cancelling each other out. It seems to me land reform is a bit more complex than taxing the land. Reversing the decoupling would be more practical, but then that has its problems too.

4. I think the biggest problem with a property tax is that so many people paid such high stamp duty they will react furiously to the notion that they have to pay more. They have paid a property tax (though this is a generational issue too, and these are the same people already coming off badly).

@ Sarah Carey,

Granted there is the difficulty in introducing annual property tax after people have paid stamp duty. In addition people may be holding off buying a property as they do not want to get hit by a double wammy of stamp duty and annual property taxes.

Why then is there no solutions being aired about this conundrum. Stamp duty was high but only for purchasers of second hand homes, if one purchased a new home the stamp duty was much lower. Could a credit be introduced, for example if annual property tax is 500E for your 3 bed semi and you had previously paid 15,000 in stamp duty then that gives you 30 years of free payments at the going rate of 500E / annum.

As the annual property tax is increased over the next 10 years to 1,000 per annum then the 30 year time span would shorten.

In addition if one was to sell the property then you would be unable to transfer your remaining credit from your previous property to your new one.
You would be resetting the clock so to speak.

Makes sense. Complex though and I’d say the temptation is to find a simple tax.

@Unqualified to speak

If a farm doesn’t generate a rateable income, perhaps it should be sold so to those that can expand their own holdings and improve returns. Subsidizing a black hole or black bog makes as much sense to me as pouring money into a toilet. There was a time in living memory when a farm of 250 acres could support ten men. I am not advocating that type of life, those wages, the semi-mechanical technology of the day or the social fabric but just stating a fact. The Land Commission did a great deal of economic damage to achieve political ends.

While we are at it a self-propelled potato harvester (Danish model it will do more than spuds)) runs to about €450k at the moment. You need a lot of land to make that pay. A relation of mine bought one recently, so there is some money in farming if you approach it like a business as opposed to a hobby (spuds etc. are not CAP suckled enterprises).

we cannot afford any new taxes. 8% in mortgage arrears and counting. Can anybody see the big picture here?
Repaying Anglo-size debt cripples countries.

@Eureka – where did you get the 8% figure from? Sounds more realistic than the 4 point something I’ve been seeing in press releases.

In Toronto, there is a cashback scheme by the local water board to credit purchases of lowflow toilets and frontload washing machines. Not all properties are metered but gradually the city has been demanding meters if water service to the property is upgraded. For about the last five years increases have been 9%+ due to the necessity of replacing 100 year old infrastructure because of lazy administration in the past.

I would suggest the installation of meters in all areas currently under pressure such as the GDA (quantity) and Galway (quality). Recipients of meters could be promised that they would pay flat rate for 10 years while meters are being rolled out, but that they would receive statements of use.

How would that help? First, aggregating property usage would help find leaks in the trunk system, hopefully avoiding the need for massive projects like obtaining water from the Shannon basin. Second, it would provide a firm basis for average household use so that when water charges are rolled out, the householder would have an expectation of how much it would cost. Thirdly, over those ten years a householder could address leaks on their own property or invest in lowflow fittings.

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