Flood forum calls for property tax exemptions

A lobby group representing people living in flood-risk zones has called on the Government to exempt from the new property tax, homes that cannot get flood insurance cover.

The Irish National Flood Forum said the move would acknowledge the plight of the thousands of home owners without flood cover.

“Banks will not give a mortgage to any property that cannot get full flood insurance cover,” a statement from the forum said.

“This lack of insurance cover means that these homes are effectively un-mortgageable and should be valued at €0 under the proposed new property tax.”

The forum has outlined its case in a written submission to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the Environment, Culture, and the Gaeltacht.

The Government is expected to unveil details of the new property tax, to replace the household charge, in tomorrow’s budget.

Indications are that the new tax will be set between 0.18% and 0.2% of the value of the property — with householders paying in the region of €200 for every €100,000 their property is worth.

It is also expected a new “mansion tax” on properties valued over €1m will be introduced.

But the flood forum, which represents some 400 flood-prone communities across the country, said it would be “unacceptable” to impose an additional charge in the form of a property tax on householders who cannot get flood insurance cover.

It has estimated that no more than 2% of insurance policies exclude flood cover, it said.

“Imposing an additional charge on these communities, at a time when the communities have to life with the constant fear of another flood, without the safety net of insurance cover, is unacceptable,” the forum said.

It acknowledged the work being done by the OPW in progressing flood relief schemes. But it expressed concern about delays to some of projects.

“Many communities devastated in the 2009 floods still have had no actual flood relief works commenced, let alone completed,” it said.

The National Flood Forum was established in Skibbereen in 2010, a year after the West Cork town was devastated by a huge flood. The Skibbereen Floods Committee coordinated the establishment of the forum to help advise and support people living in flood risk zones, and to help lobby the Government on their behalf.

* irishnationalfloodforum.com


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