Ireland’s brutal austerity Budget 2012 will cause the Irish pain
Government accused of hitting the most vulnerable with the worst of the Budget
The Irish Government announced one of its toughest budgets on Tuesday with the aim of raising €3.8 billion ($5 billion). Minister for Finance Michael Noonan said that although the budget may be seen as harsh, the Government tried to impose most of the burden onto those who could shoulder it the most.
The opposition has already accused the Irish Government of “dashing the hopes of struggling families with stealth charges and spending cuts”. Fine Gael and Labour believe that the new budget failed to give any hope to those 45,000 people who are unemployed across Ireland.
Michael McGrath, a Fianna Fail TD, told the Belfast Telegraph that it will take the people of Ireland days to recover from the cuts and increases in taxes.
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He said, “Its impact will be felt hardest by low and middle income families with children, by young people with disabilities, by vulnerable elderly people, and by students trying to build a better future.
"You had the option of closing loopholes and targeting higher income earners. Instead you have played your trump card by increasing VAT in the first year of the Government's five year life."
He also said that the Government had not been told by the IMF and the EU to make cuts to child benefits and fuel allowance, or to make cuts affecting vulnerable elderly people. He added, “These were political choices made by Fine Gael and Labour.”
Here are some of the main points for the second day of the budget, as reported by RTE:
Income tax: No increase
VAT: Raised by 2% to 23%
Universal Social Charge: Exemption raised to €10,000 - this affects 330,000 people
Carbon Tax: Increased from €15 per tonne to €20 per tonne
No Carbon Tax on solid fuels
Cigarettes: 25c increase on pack of 20
Alcohol: No change in excise duty
Legislation planned on low-cost alcohol
Motor tax changes to apply from 1 January:
Band A up €56 to €160
Band B up €69 to €225
Band C up €28 to €330
Mortgage Interest Relief:
30% for first-time buyers between 2004 and 2008
25% for first-time buyers in 2012
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