Independent TD Mattie McGrath has re-iterated his previous calls on the Government to introduce a pay as you go and monthly payment options for motor tax as the Government plans to introduce charges for off the road vehicles.
Deputy McGrath has claimed that the main reason for vehicles being taken off the road is that the vehicle owners can simply not afford the rising levels of motor tax and fuel costs, especially in the haulage industry and that it is not realistic to expect vehicle owners to declare their intention of taking their vehicle off the road in advance.
The Ministers plans are totally out of touch with the reality of the situation in the current climate especially for those who use the road for business purposes such as road hauliers who are expected to pay 2500 and more to tax their lorries, despite only having their Lorries on the road once or twice a week due to the fall in business. They do not know months in advance whether their vehicle will be on or off the road in the coming months, they can only hope that they will have enough work to keep their vehicle on the road.
These are honest hard working people who always pay their dues but who simply cannot meet the costs. Some are being forced to take a chance and drive their Lorries without tax in order to get work so that they might be able to eventually meet their payments and put food on the table. If they refuse business because they cannot afford their tax, they will be in a much worse position with no chance of recovery because many of them are self-employed and will not receive any assistance from social welfare. Said McGrath
Putting an extra charge on those who have taken their vehicles off the road because they simply cannot afford motor tax is just another stealth tax coming from the Minister for the Environment. If the taxation system was a bit more flexible, people might have a better chance.
If the Minister really wants to tighten up the loophole then he should examine the reasons why vehicles are being taken off the road and try to offer workable solutions rather than forcing extra costs on those struggling. Motor tax is for use of the road, we cannot introduce a charge for vehicles not on the road. Continued McGrath
Deputy McGrath appealed to the Government to introduce a pay as you go system of motor taxation to allow the hauliers continue trading and to examine the possibility of introducing a monthly payment for other road users to offer some more flexibility.
With online motor taxation, this should be possible and if they those using the road for business purposes such as hauliers can pay as they work, they will not be forced to cut off their nose to spite their face. They want to work and they want to work within the law but they just cant afford to pay huge amounts of tax on their vehicles if they are not getting the work. We need to get real about supporting small businesses. There is no point forcing more businesses out of work simply because they cannot meet pay unrealistic levels of motor tax, when they could be allowed to work and pay as they go. Concluded McGrath
During the three-month period, there were 4,181 disconnections for non-payment of electricity bills. Of these, 3,496 were in the domestic market. Although the figure shows a significant reduction in disconnections compared to the corresponding period in 2011, it was an 18 per cent increase on the previous quarter.
According to the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER), Electric Ireland accounts for the majority of disconnections in the domestic and non-domestic markets. However, when adjusted for market share, Airtricity completed the highest disconnection rate per 10,000 customers.
The quarterly report notes that disconnection from a customer’s energy supply “should always be the last resort”. Suppliers are also required to offer a payment plan and pre-payment solution to households.
Between 1 July and 30 September, there were 2,479 disconnections completed in the gas market, a leap of 36 per cent on last year.
The vast majority of the switch-offs were seen in domestic addresses.
Bord Gáis Energy completed the majority of disconnections in residential and non-domestic markets. However, when adjusted for market share, Flogas had the highest rate.
Pay as you go
The CER says it has been working with suppliers to facilitate the rollout of electricity and gas pay-as-you-go meters for customers experiencing financial hardship.
There were 4,384 electricity meters installed in the three months, a 22 per cent increase on the previous quarter.
Since 2011, more than 11,000 meters have been put in Irish homes. There are also about 19,500 token-meters in operation.
There was a decrease in the number of gas meters installed in the year with 3,431 households obtaining one. Of these, 93 per cent were installed for financial hardship reasons.
The total number of gas pay-as-you-go meters installed since December 2008 is 63,933.
Fewer households are switching electricity or gas supplier than they were in 2011, according to the quarterly report.
Bord Gáis, however, continues to experience a net loss in terms of the number of customers leaving. Electric Ireland has seen a net gain of 7,395 customers as it wins back households.
The proposal could save up to €200m a year
The report says this proposal could save up to €200m a year.
Currently, child benefit is paid at €140 per child for the first two children, the third child receives €148, while €160 is paid for the fourth and subsequent children.
In last year’s budget, the Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin said the rates would be standardised to €140 for all children over the next two years.
CLARE County Council’s decision to ask approximately 800 third-level maintenance grant applicants if their parents had paid the €100 Household Charge provoked a storm of local and national protest this week. The Union of Students of Ireland has warned it will initiate legal proceedings against any local authority that withholds a student grant over failure to provide evidence of the Household Charge payment.
Clare County Council, in a statement, said it has not, at any stage, indicated that grant payments would be withheld from applicants that have not paid the household charge. “Applicants who have completed forms and provided the necessary information will have their payments issued as expeditiously as possible. Applicants who do not provide the requested information will be requested to submit complete applications, which may result in delay,” according to the statement.
Speaking in the Dáil on Wednesday, Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed Clare County Council is not entitled by law to reduce or withhold a portion of the third-level grant that is due as a result of the non-payment of the Household Charge.
He confirmed no money has been withheld by the council in respect of higher-education grants and noted it is entitled to secure as much information about the numbers who have paid the household charge as is required in law.
The council reiterated on Wednesday it was never its intention to delay or withhold the payment of third-level grants to second, third and fourth-year students, regardless of whether their parents had paid the Household Charge and merely initiated this measure as part of its “public awareness campaign” about the public services that are funded by the collection of money from the charge.