Sinn Féin never advocated a no pay campaign. We were very scrupulous about that. It is another lie which needs to be nailed, along with others I heard in the past 15 minutes.
Deputy Deering obviously has a problem with the truth. We have actively campaigned against the tax and offered costed, reasonable alternatives. If we fail in our endeavours today we will continue to campaign against this tax at every opportunity. We have given a commitment that if we are ever in government we will repeal it.
To put the family home tax into context, Fianna Fáil came up with the bright idea of taxing people's homes, regardless of ability to pay. In its national recovery plan 2011 to 2014 it committed itself to an interim site value tax of €100. Page 92 stated Fianna Fáil's national recovery plan would introduce an interim site value tax in 2012, applicable to all land other than agricultural land and land subject to commercial rates. The interim measure would involve a fixed local service contribution of about €100. The final site value tax would be introduced in 2013 when valuations were completed.
It goes on to commit Fianna Fáil to doubling the tax at an average of just over €200 per dwelling or site which would raise €530 million. It is roughly the same as what the Minister, his party and the Labour Party are doing in government. I raise this issue to remind the public that there is no difference between the coalition of Fine Gael, the Labour Party and Fianna Fáil on this issue. If one votes for one of them one gets them all.
There is some confusion in the coalition. Fianna Fáil was in favour of the property tax but no longer is. Fine Gael was against it but now supports it. The Labour Party flip-flopped all over the place but the Tánaiste, Deputy Gilmore, told us three years ago it would be perverse to tax people's homes. Now it is doing that in government. Any crocodile tears from Fianna Fáil are opportunism. In power it too would champion the family home tax.
Not only is the tax an attack on low-income families, it also serves to undermine local democracy. Local authorities raise almost 60% of their funding, but the Government has continued to slash funding. The public pay motor tax to fund local services, in particular roads, but the Government grabbed €150 million to pay debts. Households will not receive one extra service from the tax. People pay income taxes, motor tax and local authority charges.
Now they are obliged to pay an additional tax for the very same services. Some households will also pay separately for fire services and so on, while every household is now paying separately to private companies for waste collection.
The Minister for Finance, Deputy Michael Noonan, is not in the Chamber tonight. He took over the management of this tax from the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Deputy Hogan, last year, but he has sent the latter in here tonight as a backstop for the Government. Deputy Noonan has disappeared, along with the Minister of State at his Department, who made false accusations before running out of the Chamber. The Minister for Finance must have woken up dizzy this morning after all the spinning he did yesterday. He claimed that Sinn Féin presided over domestic rates in the North, which he equated to a local property tax. He neglected to outline the services covered by that payment. He also forgot to mention that, unlike the family home tax in this State, the provision in the North includes a clause whereby people who have an inability to pay are exempted. People on disabled person's allowance, for example, pensioners and those in receipt of housing benefit do not have to pay.