Budget taxes unveiled
Budget taxes unveiled

An announcement of new taxes in the Dublin parliament has brought confirmation that those living on low and middle incomes will be the main victims of the 26-County government’s austerity program.

Minister for Finance, Fine Gael’s Michael Noonan today confirmed the introduction of over one billion euro in new taxes following a litany of cuts outlined yesterday afternoon by his colleague, Labour’s Minister for Public Expenditure, Brendan Howlin.

Minister Noonan told the Dail he was preserving corporation and income tax rates “to provide certainty”, but imposed new increases on the price of most goods and services, as well as additional taxes on fuel, energy, and cigarettes.

Motor tax is set to jump by up to 50%, while a one hundred euro charge will be imposed on every household in the state next year.

And amid news that a homeless man died from hypothermia in Dublin city centre last night, Noonan announced tax breaks for new home buyers and property speculators. The move would help bolster property prices, he said.

In one positive development for the working por, it was announced that those earning less than 200 euro per week will be exempted from the Universal Social Charge, amounting to a saving of up to four euro per week.

But there was continuing public ange as the impact of the range of cuts introduced yesterday began to emerge.

Among the measures that attracted attention in the media were cuts to employment-related payments currently being paid to community and voluntary organisations, as well as the slashing of disability allowances for young people by up to 60%.

Sinn Fein’s Caoimhghin O Caolain said the range of measures would penalise hundreds of thousands of citizens, and would not even begin to turn the economy around.

“It will actually deepen recession by cutting people’s spending and cutting jobs,” said the Sinn Fein TD.

Deputy O Caolain said that the new household charge and the cuts to social welfare payments (announced yesterday) would impose a massive burden on struggling families.

“This is a cruel Budget that targets the vulnerable, the low paid and families with children,” Mr O Caolain.

“The 100 euro Household Charge is a flat tax that takes no account of ability to pay and will be a severe imposition, from January this year, on families and individuals. It will bear most heavily on those least able to pay.

“The VAT increase will also punish those on low incomes, damage small and medium sized business and further depress the economy of the border counties.

“This budget is futile as well as cruel. It is the latest in a succession of austerity budgets that have resulted in an increase in unemployment to 450,000. The measures brought in this week will further depress the economy and worsen the recession. It is a recipe for further unemployment and emigration.

“We in Sinn Fein have proposed an alternative strategy that would protect the vulnerable, stimulate jobs and growth, tax wealth and defend vital public services. We will continue to stand side by side with those penalised by this Budget and to campaign for a fairer, better way forward for Ireland.”


* VAT: Raised by 2% to 23%

* 1.4c increase on Petrol

* 1.6c increase on Diesel

* 17.32 euro increase on Fuel Oil

* 14.46 euro increase on Natural Gas

* Cigarettes: 25c increase on pack of 20

* Alcohol: No change in excise duty outside VAT increase

* Motor Tax: Band A up 56 euro, Band B up 69 euro, Band C up 28 euro

* Mortgage Interest Relief: 25% for first-time buyers in 2012, 15% for other buyers in 2012, 30% for ‘bubble’ buyers who bought from 2004-2008

* Commercial property stamp duty lowered from 6% to 2%

* Capital Acquisitions Tax: Up from 25% to 30%

* Capital Gains Tax: Up from 25% to 30%

* Deposit Income Retention Tax (DIRT): Up from 27% to 30%

* Universal Social Charge: Exemption raised to 10,000 euro

* New tax planned on internet betting

* 50% Employer PRSI pension relief abolished

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