Moves to block the ‘toilet tax’

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Peel Commissioners havejoined the growing opposition against the government’s toilet tax.

The Water and Sewerage Authority wants to introduce a £50 annual charge per property or flat from April 1 this year, rising to £100.

Authority chairman John Houghton has told Tynwald that the charges are needed to meet the cost of its loan repayments and interest charges on its capital schemes.

An online petition against the tax now has more than 6,000 signatures.

Douglas West MHK Chris Thomas will present the petition to Tynwald next Tuesday and also says he will ask the court to consider whether new rules are needed to accept e-petitions more easily in the future.

Peel residents, angered by the proposed tax, have organised a requisition meeting, which is set to take place tonight (Tuesday).

The meeting will be at 7.30pm at the Masonic Hall in Stanley Road, Peel, and everyone is welcome to attend.

Organisers have invited Chief Minister Allan Bell, along with Mr Houghton, Treasury Minister Eddie Teare, and Peel’s MHK Tim Crookall, but only Mr Crookall has yet to confirm he will attend.

Commissioner Ian Davison said: ‘It’s going to be one of these bills rushed through with no consultation.

‘It’s OK signing petitions but Allan Bell won’t take any notice of that, the best way is to get these people at a requisition meeting, on a stage answering questions.

‘I talked to a senior member of the water board and have heard it’s going to be up to £300 in the next four years.

‘If people don’t stand and fight it won’t stop at £300.

‘We’re having waste charges put on us, toilet charges put on us. What next?

‘Bell is running a dictatorship, 12 minions who don’t want to object to him at all.’

Commissioner Jackie O’Halloran added: ‘If you’ve got a 50 bedroom hotel you’re paying the same as a one bedroom pensioner. That’s not fair.

‘This has been sprung very quickly with no consultation.

‘Have the costs of administering it been thought through?’

Town clerk Peter Leadley said: ‘Have they thought about public conveniences?’

Mr Davison questioned what would happen for such residential homes as the Corrin Home in Peel and asked would the home pay one tax charge or would each person living there have to pay one.

He said: ‘Peel’s sewage is chucked out into the bay anyway. We don’t have treated sewage. The sea is our sewage works.’

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