Photo Credit: Nic McPhee (flickr) Licence: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
One of the outstanding questions yet to be answered by the Government is just how much it will cost to run the overall water charging scheme, including collecting charges and paying grants – and if these costs render the whole project unviable.
A member of the public contacted me over the weekend, and produced the following figures. It is truly shocking that our Government and the Civil Service behind them can’t/won’t provide these figures themselves. Are they not embarrassed by such incompetence? In the absence of Government figures, the following is a very decent effort at breaking down just how much will actually be raised by water charges.
This analysis estimates that the most that could be raised in net terms is €63.7 million, and that assumes 100% compliance. In reality, the actual amount that will be collected will be far less because a large cohort of people just won’t/can’t pay. Indeed, the figures suggest that if the non-compliance rate rises above 47%, it will actually cost the State money to collect water charges and run related schemes.
So the Government tells us that it will raise €271 million from water charges. but after grants, exemptions, and operational costs are factored in, the actual amount raised might be less than a quarter of this. If the project is really about yielding revenue to invest in our water infrastructure, then we will be waiting forever for water charges to fund this. The Government has yet to explain how this can possibly work?
The fairness of imposing water charges on people who have suffered so many cuts and taxes over the past 7 years is one thing. The fact that the public simply don’t accept the charges is another. But the death knell for water charges is that the business case for them simply doesn’t stack up.