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Budget 2015

category national | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Tuesday October 14, 2014 22:34author by fred Report this post to the editors

A pre election sleight of hand giving out a few pennies to the poor with one hand while taking them back with the other via water charges? Here is some information on some of the changes
budget.jpg

Lots of the usual media spin on this years budget as ministers discuss it in the chambers. With elections coming up, of course, and a key win for the socialists recently, you would expect that FG would make a few mealy mouth concessions to dampen down anger at the string of austerity budgets that have raised the income of the top earners by around 8% or more while the income of the poor has fallen by about 25% or more in the same period.(CSO report, see here for source )

Anyway, here are some of the changes:

Welfare:

living alone allowance
up 1.30 per week from 7.70 to 9.00 per week ( that's not even enough buy a decent tin of catfood for your cat)

childrens allowance
up 5.00 per month.(that's little johnny's toilet paper sorted for the month so)

christmas bonus
an extra 25% of your payment. Wow...a massive 47.00 extra for single person on dole to get through xmas. Lavish gifts and champagne all round this year boys!
They are saying this will rise to 50% next year but once they are in again for another term, don't bank on it for at least another 5 years!
The xmas bonus applies to anyone on one of the following payments:

State pensions
Invalidity pension
Widow’s pention
Guardian’s payment
One parent family payment
Deserted wife’s benefit
Carer’s allowance
Pre-retirement allowance
Disability allowance
Farm assist
Long-term jobseeker’s allowance
Back to work allowance
Community employment
Jobs initiative
Rural social scheme
Tús
Gateway
Domiciliary care allowance

Education:
920 new mainstream teachers, 480 resource teachers and 365 new special needs assistants provided for
this is something positive at least

Taxation

Usual suspects
Booze is left alone but the fags are taxed by 40c more per pack. Time to give them up! Your lungs will thank you. And you are less likely to end up at the mercy of an underfunded and inefficient creaking HSE for a lung operation when you get cancer. Car tax and petrol have been left alone this year it seems.

USC:
Higher band and top rate reduced. Top rates in at 33,800 and various USC rates down by 0.5% and starting at €12,000.
The 2 per cent USC rate will be cut to 1.5 per cent and the 4 per cent rate will fall to 3.5 per cent.

Higher earners:
normal rate of income tax will be reduced from 41% to 40% (why??) This rate will now start to kick in at 33,800 for single person and 34,800 for a couple High rate remains the same at 52%. A higher 8 per cent USC rate will be levied on incomes above €70,000.
The 0.6% pension levy will end in 2014, (and the government is committed to eliminate the remaining 0.15% in 2015)

Fatcats
Good news! the "double irish" tax dodge loophole for MNCs is finally to be closed
Bad news: it will take them another 6 years to actually do it. Meanwhile a new "knowledgebox" loophole has been opened for them
Noonan also removed a number of restrictions on the Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP). It means that 30% of a foreign executive’s salary over €75,000 will be tax exempt.This provision had a ceiling of €500,000 but Michael Noonan has removed that cap entirely.( Expect a flood of tax dodging foreign executives to take up fake residence here.)

Water charges
Some small concessions given. The unemployed in receipt of fuel allowance will now get 100.00 p.a.towards water charges
There will be tax relief on up to 500.00 of water charges for the employed (worth max of 100.00 p.a.)
These can easily be reversed later on of course

misc new investment measures

€1.6 billion for jobs programmes.(more corporate welfare. you're all going on scambridge folks!) This includes a doubling of those on the wage subsidy scheme JobsPlus, €450 million in capital funding for job creation and €260 million for research and development.

€25 million to tackle late discharges from hospitals

€2.3 billion for prescription medicine subsidies ( lots of money made available for overpriced named drug corporate welfare?) and €3 billion for older and disabled people

€530 million on capital projects in schools

€35 million to improve child detention services

A special €100 million structural fund for the Border, Midlands and Western region

€14 million in aid for Syria, €10 million for Palestine and €16 million for Sierra Leone and Liberia, as part of a €600 million foreign aid budget

An increased budget for Defence, that will see the Naval Service replace old vessels

A vague ' "strategy to harness Ireland’s “ocean wealth” ' (does this mean we get our fisheries back from the EU?? hah!)


In summary:
household incomes will be left broadly unchanged. They have been pushed up by €458m in income tax cuts but offset by €300m in new water charges in 2015

A few miserly pennies given with one hand to try to buy off certain voting blocks in the next election. The pennies mostly taken back with the other hand through the likes of water charges.

Profits for MNCs and salaries and pensions and generous allowances remain protected for politicians and top civil servants.

There will be 200 more gardai available to enforce road taxes and menace democratic protesters, Also some more teachers and special needs assistants (that's welcome!)

links and related analysis:

actual budget document as a pdf
Austerity isn't over - michael taft
The 'Taxes' on Living Standards the Government Won't Be Addressing
the journal coverage
finfacts analysis
Double Irish tax scheme axed; Conventional wisdom wrong again - Part 1

Caption: pearse doherty


author by Tpublication date Wed Oct 15, 2014 23:38author address author phone Report this post to the editors

On education:
Apparently since the hire freeze there has been quite a few retirements as expected of teachers and at the same time the population is growing so these 'new' jobs will just replace the retirements and keep up with growth. If there was extra teachers in the system then the pupil to teacher ratio would fall but many have pointed out it will remain unchanged.

On Taxation the real gain is for those on higher wages. The low paid while gaining a little -about € 100 a year, will of course lose up to €400 - 500 on Water Charges. Those in the middle income 30k to 70k gain roughly what they lose on water charges.

The reduction of the higher tax rate from 41% to 40% was unnecessary as more could have been done to increase the absolute amount for lower paid. The government have been clever enough to increase the USC from 7% to 8% on that portion of salary over 70k. People will have heard Noonan saying he capped the benefit at 70k and this is because the 1% reduction in the higher tax rate is basically swapped back in with this increased USC rate, once you go above 70k.

The key reason for the middle income earners were given most of the benefits is because they are more likely to be FG voters than people on say less than 30k. People on less than 30k to zero are more likely to be Labour, Socalist Party or People Before Profit voters. SF probably straddles both groups.

So if the Noonan had given more to the low pay, then Labour would have had something to crow about and pick up votes on it. Now why would FG hand out money to benefit Labour rather than themselves ?

Water Charges
The government clearly hopes these small concessions can dampen the flames of discontent. From their point of view they don't have to make everyone happen but to just reduce the temperature a little. They will have every intention no matter what they promise to remove all these token concessions in a few years because this is exactly what happened with the Bin Tax waivers and tax credits.

New Investments etc
Clearly the Knowledge Box is another blatant loop hole to replace the 'double Irish'. The government and their lackeys in the Right wing press say that the EU will be examining it, but it just means they will be taking more care to cleverly make it all legal but it will still be providing you can be sure 90% of the giveaway the double Irish was doing before.

Housing
The &euro 2.5 billion for social housing sounds like they care. They don't. This is purely a gift to the land bankers and building industry and while the money will probably generate a good few jobs and put money back in the economy, it is a very thin cover for those groups. What we have not heard is how much these social houses will be sold or rented for? The details are missing completely.

author by fredpublication date Thu Oct 16, 2014 14:17author address author phone Report this post to the editors

an alternative take on budget 2015
http://waterfordwhispersnews.com/2014/10/14/whats-in-bu...2015/

Just as FG/Lab don't take the plight of ordinary people seriously it's hard to take this budget seriously either.

author by Travis McGuffinpublication date Fri Oct 17, 2014 00:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Fred (spelled with small f) has done us a service by putting the budget in a nutshell. I particularly liked the comment about not even the price of a tin of cat food for a single pensioner's pet. The extra 47 euro for single lads and girls on the dole means nothing for the Christmas holiday. They'd get at least a warm smile from the SVP people.

 
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