\"Transport

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar Photo by: Google Images

Minister tells those about to be crucified by the budget to ‘take a holiday’

\"Transport

Transport Minister Leo Varadkar Photo by: Google Images

A Fine Gael Minister has provoked fury by telling the country to take a holiday next year – days before his government introduces the toughest Budget yet.

Transport boss Leo Varadkar offered the advice as Minister for Finance Michael Noonan prepares to hit families hard in his first Budget.

Experts have predicted that the latest round of austerity measures forced on Ireland by the EU-IMF bail-out will cost every family $900 a month.

But Varadkar has bizarrely claimed that the Budget will be so easy that they will be able to afford a family holiday next year.

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The Irish Independent reports that Varadkar claimed households would ‘still have money’ to take a holiday.

“It won’t be all bad,” claimed the West Dublin deputy. “Incomes will remain untouched.

“The only people whose pay is being cut are ministers and senior civil servants. That means incomes will be the same next year.

“You’ll have to pay €100 for your house and 2pc on a new TV or fridge but that’s it. That means people will be able to take a holiday, which they might not have been able to afford this year.”

The paper reports that the Minister made his remarks on the same day when it emerged:

- The jobs crisis had deepened with another 1,700 signing on the dole last month.

- The total number of unemployed rose to 448,600.

- A new rise in health insurance premiums of up to 10 per cent is expected next year.

- Spending on credit cards has collapsed.

- One in 10 went without heating at some stage this year.

- Poverty levels hit a critical stage with one in five classified as living in deprivation.

The Government has already announced plans to raise the top rate of VAT by two per cent in the forthcoming budget while 1.5million homeowners will be hit with a $140 household charge.

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Carbon taxes and motor tax are also set to rise.

Stealth tax proposals include a cut to child benefit, higher college fees, a medical card charge, and a property tax.

Yet Varadkar added: “No government wants to raise taxes or cut spending. It’s not because it will create jobs and boost the economy, because it won’t do any of those things, but we’re borrowing €12bn a year.”

In response, Consumers’ Association of Ireland chairman Michael Kilcoyne has accused Varadkar of living in a land of make-believe.

“My only reaction is there is no doubt about it, nine months into the job and he (Mr Varadkar) has moved into the world of make-believe,” said Kilcoyne.

“He’s just not living in the real world. The Government is moving from direct to indirect taxation and that hits people on fixed incomes far more.

“A car and petrol isn’t a luxury if you’re in the country. People absolutely won’t be able to take a holiday next year. There’s many that unless they have free travel, won’t even be able to go to another town.”
 

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