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A certain sort of cynicism April 23, 2014

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, The Left.
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Is the thought that comes to mind reading an assessment by Fiach Kelly in the Irish Times of the broader economic context and how it impacts upon citizens in the coming years, not least in relation to the supposed ‘end’ of austerity.

Some in Labour, which has taken the brunt of the criticism this week, would have preferred the announcement to be delayed until after the local and European elections, while the Taoiseach said voters would know well before then.

Isn’t this remarkably cynical, knowing that the charges will be within a certain range and not wanting that knowledge to be public for fear of what the political ramifications will be. Bad enough, some would think, the measures themselves without blurring the knowledge about them purely for electoral gain.

And Kelly notes that if the economy ‘improves’ in certain ways such as with rising house prices that will have knock on effects on property taxes as well as the potential for increased water charges further down the line. So this ‘improvement’ will to many many of us feel like no improvement at all.

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1. CL - April 23, 2014

Is it known how much the proposed water charges cover water costs,-both current and capital? Is a subvention still required from the Exchequer?
In NYC a controversy has developed as water charges more than cover water costs and the overcharge goes to the central fund. De Blasio promised to end this practice but now he has demurred.
“Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration on Wednesday will propose a 3.35% increase in New York City’s water and sewer rates—the lowest such increase since fiscal 2006—but officials acknowledged the recommendation doesn’t fully address what the mayor previously denounced as a “hidden tax.”-

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303825604579518211906103716?mg=reno64-wsj&url=http%3A%2F%2Fonline.wsj.com%2Farticle%2FSB10001424052702303825604579518211906103716.html

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hardcorefornerds - April 23, 2014

“Taoiseach Enda Kenny, responding to pressure from the Opposition yesterday, pointed out that to retain its status as a commercial semi-State company, the subvention from the taxpayer to Irish Water could not exceed €537 million next year or the year after. This equated to an annual average metered charge of €240.”

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/coalition-water-dispute-is-made-of-ripples-not-waves-1.1764395

And RBB arguing that a ‘revenue-generating monopoly’ will lead inexorably to privatisation under EU law (I doubt it’s as simple as that, not least because of the diversity of charging providers in the EU currently): http://www.unitedleftalliance.org/kenny-wrong-or-lying-eu-law-means-water-charges-equal-privatisation/

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CL - April 23, 2014

Interesting.I think you’re right; its not inevitable. But it did happen in Britain. Of course, ‘competition’ where a natural monopoly such as water supply is concerned is mostly phoney.

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hardcorefornerds - April 23, 2014

Someone with more knowledge of EU competition law would have to clarify but it seems to me to depend on how a service is classified, in that certain aspects of public provision are exempt from being considered ‘undertakings’ in a commercial sense, essentially. RBB’s rather simplistic argument then ironically rests on the assumption that water is a commercial business.

Certainly that’s the way it’s been treated in the UK (or England anyway) but I’m not sure they would let the EU take the credit? :)

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