Tonight’s show host Ciara Doherty grills Minster on a concrete tax
Tonight Show host Ciara Doherty grilled the Minister of State on Monday night over the controversial concrete levy motion.
The new 10% tax on concrete blocks, concrete pouring and other products is expected to be introduced next April to fund the mica repair program. It is expected to raise 80 million euros a year out of the 3.6 billion euros cost of the mica scandal.
According to the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland, the new tax could add €3,000-4,000 to the cost of an average three-bedroom semi-detached house.
Speaking to Sean Fleming of the Department of Finance, Ciara said: ‘You leave those responsible behind and you make the taxpayer pay, who has nothing to do with it.’
Mr Fleming replied: ‘You are right, the taxpayer is being asked to pay around 3 billion euros.’ For every house in Ireland, around €1500 to pay for this particular Mica problem and the problems we may have with some apartments in Dublin…
“I think the industry that was at the center of this needs to be levied to some degree to make a contribution to the Irish taxpayer for the 3 billion euros that the Irish taxpayer is being asked to pay.”
Ciara then pointed out that ERSI said on Friday that the costs “would ultimately be borne by homebuyers,” which she told viewers was “the taxpayer again.”
“The tax should be levied on the construction industry…and it’s working its way into the concrete blocks. I think it’s true that the industry involved in this project is involved in contributing to the cost of the mica,” Kelly said.
Asked if he thought ‘the concrete industry was going to absorb that cost and not pass it on to the consumer’, Mr Kelly replied that ‘the Irish people would not like to see him hand over £3 billion euros” on behalf of the construction sector and see them “get away with it”.
Ciara added: ‘You just said people watching at home tonight would like to see the construction industry federation pay for this, but it will be passed on to the consumer, I don’t understand.’
Mr Kelly said he would like someone to show him ‘how it won’t be passed on’ and stressed that ‘the cost has to fall somewhere’.
Questioning the minister further, Ciara said: “Last week in the budget you got your help to buy a scheme recognizing that people couldn’t afford to buy houses in Ireland…at the same time you introduce this levy which is going to drive up the prices of houses in Ireland Explain that to me because I think it is quite absurd.
Mr Kelly again said that “the industry involved should contribute to the cost of resolving this issue”, telling viewers that “the Finance Bill will provide more clarity over the next two weeks”.
Viewers flocked to Twitter to have their say on the concrete tax and the government’s approach to mica repair.
One person said, “What good is the swab in the first place?”
Another added: “This conversation will do nothing for families dealing with #mica…Where’s the fix!” #tonightvmtv.’
While one person wrote: ‘Why can’t the block makers be fined!!!!! A flat tax will drive up real estate prices. We need manufacturers to be responsible. #micaredress #tonightvmtv.’