Introducing water charges now could cost up to 3,000 jobs, warns Unite

waterCharges will reduce consumer spending, throttle job creation

Proposed charges bad for economy and bad for low-income households, says Jimmy Kelly

May 6th: Responding today to the Government’s announcement of the proposed water charges model, Unite Regional Secretary Jimmy Kelly warned that the charges will reduce consumer spending and dampen job creation, resulting in an estimated 2,000 – 3,000 fewer jobs being created than would otherwise be the case. Mr Kelly also pointed out that the charges will impact disproportionately on low-income households while having a negligible impact on higher earners.

“Unite has consistently argued that water charges should not be introduced while the economy is struggling to emerge from six years of a domestic demand recession – a recession magnified by relentless austerity. The proposed water charges will suck more money out of the economy, throttling growth and job creation. Using NERI data, Unite has estimated that employment creation could be 2,000 – 3,000 lower because of the charges, while economic growth could be reduced by €300 million.

“The scheme of charges announced today not only fail the economic efficiency test – they also fail the equity and affordability test. Nearly one-in-three households with one person working suffered multiple deprivation experiences in 2012. The proposed charges will impact disproportionately on these and other vulnerable households, while having a negligible impact on higher earners.

“Unite will be making a submission to the Water Regulator seeking a review of the charging model to ensure that the charges are more equitable and that meaningful relief is given to all low-income households”, Jimmy Kelly added.

A copy of Unite’s 2012 Submission to the Consultation on the Reform of the Water Sector in Ireland is available for download here.

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