News | Sunday, 03 January 2010

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Drainage tax returns for households

A yearly service charge for drainage of €59 per household is to come into effect shortly, along with a consumption charge on drainage services such as flushing toilets.
The charge has apparently come into force this year, although the legal notice was issued in December 2008.
The Water Supply (Amendment) Regulations 2008, indicates tariffs for a service charge and “water consumption incorporating drainage contribution”.
It explains that in every period of one year, the service charge in respect of every tenement, for every service installed in the same household, shall be of €59, while the charge for water consumption will be as follows:
For any quantity not exceeding 33 cubic metres per person residing, €1.40 per cubic metre; while for any quantity exceeding 33 cubic metres per person residing, will be €5.15 per cubic metre.
While new water and electricity tariffs have come into force as from January 1, the yearly drainage charge is set to become another financial burden for consumers.
While a series of questions sent by this paper to the infrastructure ministry remained unanswered yesterday, the new charge contradicts the tough campaign led by the PN when it was in Opposition in 1998, against Alfred Sant’s introduction of a drainage charge on every household.
Last week, the Labour party said that the revision of electricity and water tariffs meant that power tariffs were back to October 2008 levels, while water tariffs were even higher.
“These tariffs will bring many families to their knees, they will shock the economy and endanger jobs,” Labour said in a statement, while explaining that the new tariffs meant a 20% increase in the case of electricity.
Labour also indicated that the government had “formalised the introduction of a new sewage tax but, for now, it is subsidising it”, referring to a total €14.6 million subsidy the government will dispense to all households.
The PL said the announcement was made when oil prices were in retreat and “was to be considered as the Christmas gift given to the people by Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.”


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