Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Budget Fun and Games

It's just like the good old Frank Hall days- the Minister for ruin comes in and tells us that they're all taking a 10% pay cut. I wouldn't mind taking a drop of 10% if I was on a quarter of a milliion a year. Now we're getting it though 2.5% increase in education and then a rise of €7 in pension payment. A fuel allowance incerase to a miserable €20 per week and for an extra 2 weeks-so much for tackling fuel poverty.

An end to the over 70's automatic medical card and cuts in entitlements to childrens allowance. On third level fees we'll wait for Batty Batt's report before they reintroduce fees!! Yet another focussed review of public service staffing.

A reduction in the number opf army barracks- I hope Kilkenny is not one. An end to decentralisation for Kilkenny I'd guess- a review in 2011! Three years away. So much for Charlie McCreevy's balloney in the chamber a few years ago.

Voluntary redundancy in the HSE- I'll bet it won't affect Brendan Drumm's cronies in senior management who got huge bonuses this year for doing very little.

Now for the green bit- a scheme to make houses warmer-to be welcomed for sure but how far will €20 m go? A carbon budget whatever that is form Gormless tomorrow. Won't hold our breath that that will have much exciting in it.

Now the real meat-taxes!

1% on all of us up to €100 k and 2% beyond that. An increase in VAT to 211/2%- now that will hit all lower income people disproportionately.

Air travel tax of a tenner-another five hours of free press coverage for Michael O' Leary's rantings coming up. 50 cent extra on the fags.

Mortgage interest relief up 5% for first time buyers-welcome for them and no harm to FF's building buddies either. No talk of measures to save young couples from the banks though.

Stamp duty on commercial property down from 9% to 6%-WHY??? Tax incentive to promote cycling to work and punishment for provision of car-park places. Bet that won't impact on the Leinster House car-park.

Local Government-€200 charge on all holiday houses and second houses for local Govt. About time! Is this the reintroducation of property tax or rates by stealth?

Agus ag deireadh-"Is ar scáth a chéile a mhaireann na daoine!". What a joke-not a mention of making the muti-millionaire off-shore billionaires behave like patriots and pay their tax to their own country. How ironic that Lenihan calls for a call to patriotic duty and abuses the memory of the Blasket Islanders in the process.

Watching Alan Kelly reacting for Labour. Nothing on Broadband- spot on!

50 cent on bottle of wine. Not sure about that one as all my friends will know!!

Increase in tax bands pathetic. €250 million for school buildings-will it be transparent or politically controlled and leaked on a drip-feed as Hanifin did?

Reaction from Vincent de Paul says it all-3% increase in pensions- increase in VAT as I said earlier on will hit the poorest hardest.

The real Michael Noonan is back-how did the FG handlers manage to destroy him when he became leader? Spot on on nursing home costs of additional €12,000 for those in nursing homes and real impact of removal of medical card over 70.

Labour's Reaction

Here's Eamon Gilmore's reaction-captures much of my own anger:

This is a budget that mercilessly targeted middle-income families, protected the interests of the super-wealthy and failed to take any significant steps to protect the poor and the vulnerable in the face of the worst recession facing this country for decades. Despite the fact that we are seeing the most serious increase in the numbers out of work ever recorded, there was not a single initiative in the budget to reverse the trend of job losses or to put people back into work or into education or training. The people who will suffer most as a result of this budget are typically the nurse, the teacher, the office manager, the skilled tradesman, the small builder: people struggling to make ends meet, to pay the mortgage each month, to cover the cost of childcare or sending a child to university, to meet the cost of drugs for a sick child. These families will pay more in tax and will have to pay more for a range of public services – and the full extent of these additional charges will only become clear over the next few days. The Social Welfare package is only about half that announced in last year’s budget and it is clear that those at the bottom will fall even further behind. While inflicting the maximum possible pain on middle income, working families, Mr. Lenihan has done little or nothing to ensure that the super wealthy, who have made vast fortunes over the past decade, the make the contribution they should to economic recover.

Back to the action
Richard Bruton is right-not a thing for reducing class sizes.
Here comes Joan Burton-how right she is-'Nightmare on Merrion Street'. Right too that it's an old-fashioned Haughey budget.
Nothing to get people back to work or retraining. Into the bonfire goes Social Justice-nothing for childcare for young parents-cutting ot back slowly but surely. No pre-school education left behind after the boom.
Minister won't feel the pain of ordinary working people-too right. Impact of medical card cuts-hospital charge up from €66 to €100.
€2 increase for fuel-the price of a box of firelighters! €16 for a bag of coal and only €20 in total. Well done Joan.
"The fundamentals of our economy are strong!".
She remembers it right and we are fed up of this Government taking no responsibility for the ,ess we are in. We know that it can't be good enough to say that the International crisis is at fault for the mess while Fianna Fáil were totally reponsible for the boom.


Anonymous said...

Looking at Joan Burton making her near namesake Bruton look like a tongue-tied teenager...

Joe said...

budget for education NEWB budget is down less than half what was asked for when set up 5 years ago, School building budget for primary down 8%. Allowances for secondary school services reduced, where will my school get the money to cover water charges?
Appalling hatchet job, the builder's bail out continues, how much extra will the banks pay?

Anonymous said...

A chara

there seems to be no mention of an increase in Direct Payment provision.

have a wee look at what EG said in the Dail last year: http://www.labour.ie/blog/archive/2007/12/19/taoiseach-plays-scrooge-for-asylum-seekers/

Ian McGahon said...

Sean - It's not 50 percent on Cigarrettes - It's 50 cent

The thing that I am most astounded by is that Minimum Wage earners have to pay the 1% income levy - There's an awful lot of empty rhetoric from the government that they tried to protect the vulnerable - in reality they didn't

seankk said...

Duly noted Ian-typing too fast at time. Good observations on education Joe and good figure on reduction in building budget and very fair observation re asylum seekers payments anon. Once again Labour lead the opposition. After Varadker's right wing rubbish last night on Q&A Bruton just didn't spark.

electbutler2009 said...


Agreed with you views Sean,

The 1% tax on all income will hurt the lower paid the most.

Just checking the does the 10% reducation in government salarys extend to school principals. LOL

Sean Butler


seankk said...

Actual quote from Lenihan is: "Other public servants in leadership and senior positions may wish to consider whether it is appropriate for them to make a similar move in current circumstances." I'm not sure that includes us and my wife is positive it doesn't!! Presume senior revenue officials are outside the loop also! :-)

Gar. U. Luss said...

What APPALS me is the silence re the ten euro airport departure tax!!! This egregious tax is felt hardest by those of us on lower incomes who have got to like our trips away from Craggy Island now and again. Middle-class journos have filled Irish newspapers with drivel about CO2 from planes, while driving around Dublin 4 in their Foxrock tractors, ie 4 wheel drives. One of the promises of EU membership was a reduction in barriers to travel in the EU. This tax is regressive. Imagine having to pay a tax in the railway station in order to leave Kilkenny!!!

Gar U. Luss said...

1% extra tax on folks on the minimum wage....to fund free hi-viz jackets and pedalpusher pants to the Tristans and Jaynes (with a "y") to cycle from Foxrock to hang out in the Dundrum "Town" Centre....Will the effin' bike rack on the back of the Range Rover qualify for tax relief???

Darren J Prior said...

"After Varadker's right wing rubbish last night on Q&A Bruton just didn't spark."

What right wing rubbish?