The budget yesterday (12th Oct 2016) was a scatter gun budget. It tried (for political reasons also) to see everyone felt its impact. In some cases to its credit, it hit vital areas, but sadly in speaking further truth, it also missed.
Budget day for elected can be a bit of a rushed circus. Opposition (those not already in co-hoots with the government) parties only get a copy of the incoming budget just before its actually read out to the members in the chamber itself. If you watch carefully, you then see political opposition trying hard to read through it for details while the government department ministers are actually standing up and doing heir grand PR speeches for the Six and Nine news – besides the paper media.
As Gerry Adams at 1.25pm today (12th Oct 2016) stated, all that goes on in the Dail…
“is reduced to theatre!”
As soon as the main speeches are over, it’s then a rush by government ministers done and all not timetabled to speak, to go to the radio and camera microphones outside the Dail. They are on their phones to other national radio stations or they ready themselves for sitting down on TV panels for interview and getting their sound-bites out. The circus goes on for a full eight (plus) hours, into the next day.
The actual budget details were examined with a genuine open mind. Being total fair in that regard, it was good to see that very scattered as it was, some areas were indeed finally started to be addressed – even if it was meekly and sometimes an unfunny joke (as will shortly be explained).
Taking into account that the FG, Endapendent and FF government cabal that we have, is out to use the budget hopefully as a political vehicle to ensnare voters again for each of themselves, we must look at the budget package not only as a financial one but as an attempted PR exercise toward incoming local, European and possible snap general elections.
So down to the details…
The timetable so far laid out from the Fine Gael fronted government is as follows:
As of midnight, a packet of cigarettes costs 50 cent more
First-time buyers of new-build homes will be able to claim a 5% tax rebate, back-dated to 16 July this year.
1 January, 2017
- Lower USC in three brackets
- Increased threshold for capital acquisitions tax
- Rent-a-room relief rises to €14,000 a year
- Landlords will see an increase in their mortgage interest relief deductibility
- PRSI expansions to give dental and optical benefits back to workers
- Capital Gains Tax for entrepreneurs reduced from 20% to 10%
- Income Tax Credit will increase to €950 for over 147,000 self-employed
- DIRT will be cut by 2%
- Carers’ credit increased to €1,100
- A new fishers tax credit of €1,270 per year
- €5 per week increase in old-age pension in March
- €150 million loan fund for farmers
- A fund of €290 million for partial-pay restoration for public servant
- A new childcare scheme from September
- Beginning of €1.2 billion housing plan
- €105 million extra for Housing Assistance Payments
- Medical cards for all children in receipt of domiciliary care allowance
- €25 cap on prescription charges for those over 70 reduced to €20 from 1 March
- A new round of the Sports Capital Programme in 2017
- A tax on sugar-sweetened drinks
- A €1 billion “rainy-day” fund
On closer inspection of the above which looks considerable (which its meant to) is that its actually a bag that has been blown up by air. Bother to look inside the bag however, you will see little or nothing! This is not just a random, off the cuff comment. Rather than rush to join others yesterday and offer up quickie sound bites all day for the sake of trying to be heard, the budget was over night read in full – all 124 pages of its Budget 2017 full document (click HERE for a PDF copy). From the reading of it, the following can be firmly concluded;
- Despite cost of living rising in regard to taxes, rates, charges, levies, rents, insurance charges, bin charges, water recharges (one way or other to be tried pushed in) and more… there was no increase in child benefit. There was no restoration in any progressive (even through a means test) way, of the bereavement grant.
- The ‘Fiver gift’ to the elderly which won’t even kick in till March next year, is not actually a ‘fiver’. On further examination, it apparently breaks down to more accurately €3.75
- The 11,000 on Domiciliary Care that’s supposed to get now a medical card? Well if they are already on Domiciliary Care, then a good deal of them already qualify for it and have got it due to their continuing ongoing medical conditions. “11,000” is simply PR spinning.
- Prescription charges? No change except for those just over 70 being allowed €25 off their monthly financial drug bill total. If their monthly bill for drugs is just under the cap imposed by the state, they certainly won’t get to see €25 Euro into their hand. It is an imaginary number that only floats around if they have to pay more.
It should be also very important noted that no disabled people even under 70 gets this possible reduction. Every disabled person in the country does not even get a sniff of this reduction for over 70’s – if they are lucky to make it that far!
- Home-carers hours were previously austerity affected. There was no increase on their now cut hours that is low and punishing on disabled and those dying. This from a financial point alone is very important. it costs the state between €1,500 to €2,500 a week to care for a person in hospital while at home with home care visiting, in financial breakdown, it costs between €500 to €1,000 in average state cost. It makes more sense then which option would be better to take – but Fine Gael and co is still not doing good sense!
Bonus slap in the face: The “€100 credit” toward is of little use affording Home-carers hours when its those unemployed or even more so, non-official job working elderly, looking after their offspring. A tax rebate is as good to them as the infamous ashtray on a back of a motor bike! Now if the state gave them a REAL €100 cash/cheque bonus for home-care, that would be more useful and wise. Fine Gael and co once again have ‘dropped the ball’.
- The highly PR spun child-care changes actually only apply to those using a Tusla registered childcare provider. Anyone else legal minding your child, you get nothing. Here too, you have to wait long into next year, long after the same TD’s giving it to you, get their own €4,000+ increased wage payments (see HERE) – that will be repeated in bump for three years afterwards, also.
- Despite being told it was much needed and was asked for, there was nothing at all for early care for mental health for youth. As Early detection and prevention is very important to be done as soon as possible to ensure greater quality of life later, with no addressing of this issue, leave more of the nations youths stranded once again.
- Housing-wise, there was nothing to address the massive continuing problem of vacant houses. The Fine Gael front government is all too aware of the housing crises – so why they completely failed to address this area, is perplexing!
- There was nothing to address those stilling exorbitant high rents, set by landlords that can afford to have such high rated properties as a personal asset. The continuing stalemate just helps currently landlords to further profit – not aid people in gaining their own real property over their head. This is a continuation of Fine Gael homing people via private enterprise (seeing an elite continue to be come richer) – not by direct care through state asset building. Privatisation of the state housing problem, by a back-door process.
- The €20,000 which was floated people who could actually afford to buy a home priced over €400,000, is considered by all outside financial experts as just a gift to builder themselves. The money €20,000 will just be seen by builders as a way to hike up their constructs by same price and get away with it.
People scraping money together for a deposit on a cheaper, second-hand house get nothing. Only those that can actually afford to pay more, get a supposed gift. Those harder broke – nothing!
- When its comes to building homes, there was nothing in any way to reduce the costs of actually building homes. Nothing there to help increase building ability. Lower building costs would have meant greater cash-flow to gain extra materials to aid more construction.
- Student registration fees were not addressed. Some secondary schools also now charge €100 a head just to apply to a school for admission (some charge more). Some schools now demand that students obtain expensive iPads at €600 to €800 price range. So much for free education? None of this was again addressed – not was the issue of school uniforms and the way parents are being financial ripped off over book prices.
Despite the TD’s very brief, yearly giving out about such issues at the timely scholastic period to sound like they are actually going to do something – yet again the government has let every parent in the state down.
- There was no fuel allowance increase for those on low pay or elderly – despite costs again rising in this area.
- Inheritance tax threshold jumps by 11% to €310,000. This means that those with lesser valued properties will still get more tax walloped by the government while those above the bracket gets a reduction on their higher valued asset. Makes sense? Let’s think about this one. Rewarding the more asset owned, while leaving those on lower scale to pay more full wallop according to their inherited asset? Something not feel right?
- While farmers get an immediate bonus (see below), ordinary people, elderly and SME’s across the state are being again kept waiting…
- There was absolutely nothing addressing the Irish Water recharging matter and services issue. Fine Gael and Co are carrying on regardless there. Warning signs of things yet to come and a public again to bullied over?
Enda Kenny and Co are now trying to move on from their election disaster slogan “Keep the recovery going” by now media PR spinning about a “Fair Society” (sounds like someone is stealing words from UK’s once Primeminister David Cameron?). The words “Fair Society” now has been heard a good few times in the last few days – deliberately by those speaking it.
Do we have fair society or making steps towards it? Lets look at more facts. In 2015, post budget, people on average were on spreadsheet supposed to be €336 better off. In 2016 they are supposed to be €245 better off – in theory.
So the public rather than gain more, is actually gaining less than last year. Not that the Fine Gael government is pointing this out. They are hoping people didn’t notice. Bad news: some of us did!
While the national pensioners have to wait till March 2017 for their whopping €3.70 (not a “fiver“), Fine Gael has put into with immediate effect, a tax payment reduction process so that they pay less. This to be fair, might be needed for them. If you take into account though that 4% of the nation is involved in the farming sector while currently there are 540,000 people aged 65+ in Ireland which accounts, for 12% of the total population, there seems to be a greater willingness by Fine Gael to immediate help their smaller percentage, original founding background while a higher percent of the country is to be kept waiting for virtual breadcrumbs.
Fine Gael says its:
“extending the relief from vehicle registration tax on electric vehicles for a period of 5 years giving the motor industry and motorists the confidence to invest in this cleaner technology”
Thank about that for a second or three… Where in Ireland is there any motor operations that currently involved in the area of motor industry, electric vehicles research? Certainly in the USA there are corporations with industrial set-ups – but in Ireland? None. In Ireland reality (not Enda Kenny and Fine Gael reality), like the house price bonus for builders, the tax relief will just filter down to sellers of the cars, aiding them to profit more. Business wins again with Fine Gael. Start to notice trend yet?
Every year we pay €6.4 Billion in interest payments due to the bank bail-out the public didn’t get a choice on or additional Troika loans. Yet we won’t take the €13 Billion from Apple. Its estimated that €300+ Billion is accumulative owed by the rest of the companies that have slipped through the corporate tax net by their allowed fiction inventing methods. Every year to date, its estimated that €4 Billion approx is lost still by continuing avoidance payments, regarding the the 12.5% tax rate.
Keep all that in mind as you remember that yesterday Paschal Donohoe, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, said when speaking about state revenues:
“…after all this is not our money. It is the public’s money.”
If the Fine Gael fronted government wishes to talk about creating a “fair society“, the first place they should start to make things better, is their methods of daily operation and better budget issue addressing. They should stop looking after select private areas while again leave too many people, young, middle aged and old, stranded with empty PR. As it stands, judging by this years budget, the political scatter gun is once again being used upon the public – and parties in government are hoping they strike home with some people just for votes.
In conclusion, the budget is far more miss than hit. They (FG, FF and Endapendents) again ruined another opportunity to do things far better. They screwed up again – its perhaps the only thing they do best?