Government Budget a Three Card Trick for Many– Tóibín
Speaking in the Dáil today in response to the Government’s Budget Aontú Leader Peadar Tóibín stated;
“This budget contains significant financial figures and many income initiatives that at first sight seem very welcome but in reality the necessary substance to help people is not there. The key measure of this budget is how it will materially impact of people’s lives. For the following reasons I believe that it will come up short”.
“Take for example the proposed Electricity Credits. 80% of the €1.2billion of Electricity Credits that families will receive in the next year, they have paid for already in extra VAT on Fuel and in Carbon taxes in in the last 12 months. The Government are taking citizens money with one hand and giving it back to citizens with the other. The government will take in €325million more on VAT this year than they did before the Cost of Living Crisis hit and they will harvest €623 million in Carbon Taxes this year”.
“The Government boasted that there would be an expansion of the GP Card system this year but in reality the number of GPs will reduce this year meaning longer wait times and delays. The Government has promised a reduction in Childcare fees while hundreds of childcare facilities are teetering on the edge and will close for a lack of funding. Like the Free School Bus fiasco, demand will increase but the supply will simply not be in place to deal with it. The housing crisis is another example of a government launching glossy plans and impressive budgets but refusing to deal with sectoral dysfunction over and over again. By the governments own admission the Housing For All plan is falling short of key targets. The HSE stands as a monument of this government incompetency, irrespective of the money being poured in, Hospital Waiting lists and Accident and Emergency waiting times increase”.
“Homer Simpson’s campaign logo for when he ran for Mayor was “Why cant someone else do it”. This seems to have been commandeered by the government. When asked to decouple the cost of electricity from the price of Gas, they say that it’s an EU competency. Yet Spain and Portugal have taken this step and reduced prices for citizens. When asked to implement a Windfall Tax, the Government say that its up to the EU to do it. Yet Italy has done this to the benefit of their citizens. When asked to reduce VAT on fuel again the Government say that it’s a EU competency. Yet again Spain has reduced prices for citizens”.
“The words Once Off appears with incredible regularity. The cut to the Third Level Fees is a once off. The Fees will return to normal levels next year. Be sure that prices being paid by students certainly wont return to normal next year. Supports for schools to deal with the increased cost of inputs was welcome, but schools need a long term increase in the capitation grant not “once off” funds to be pulled from under their feet next year. Social Welfare and pension recipients were promised a number of “once off” supports but their actual income payments fell in real terms and did not keep pace with inflation”.
“This is particularly shocking, for after all this Budget was supposed to about those who were most exposed. Citizens earning less than €36,800 will see little income improvement from tax package that has Fine Gael’s name all over it. On the flip side of this there were no steps taken to deal with a wealth tax. The Promised Vacant Home Tax seems vague and nebulous. It seems to be based upon residential properties that are occupied for less than 30 days a year. How do you work that out? 31 selfies, signing in at that Garda Station? The Residential Zoned Land Tax announced last year is still in the future tense. The Defective Concrete Products Levy will be levied on products needed to build homes. I.e. it will increase the cost of building homes. Really another tax on construction in a housing crisis”?
“The increase in government spending this year will amount to 6.3%. Yet this less than inflation. This feels like a big budget but it in terms of the delivery of services and capital projects will struggle to keep up. Much of this inflation relates to Covid Restrictions, the War in Ukraine and international fuel prices. But there are many structural problems in Ireland that are particular to Ireland. These are a key failing of this government. They government has a responsibility to get to grips with these now”.