“Budget is a better deal for the better off” say Right2Change

Government refuses to address crisis in housing, health and education

Missed opportunity to deliver a fairer, more equal society

The Right2Change campaign has today (Tuesday, 13th October 2015) criticised Budget 2016 saying it is reckless and irresponsible and leaves the most vulnerable out in the cold.

It’s back to boom-and-bust economics from this government as they play the electoral game and attempt to win votes by giving tax cuts that will disproportionately benefit the better off.

The cuts in USC – which will cost more than €630m are targeted at the better off with the following impacts:

  • A person earning less than €12,000 per year receiving no benefit.
  • A person earning €25,000 per year benefiting by €208 per year.
  • A person earning €70,000 per year benefiting by €884 per year.
  • A self employed person earning €175,000 benefitting by €1456 per year.

The cut to USC will disproportionately benefit the highest paid and while low-paid workers may feel a temporary benefit, the lost investment in public services, particularly in a national home building project, will be devastating for many.

Right2Change is extremely critical of the halving in corporation tax – which is already among the lowest in the world – from 12.5 percent to 6.25 percent for multinationals.

The reduction in capital gains tax from 30 percent to 20 percent will also have a detrimental effect on the public finances, again, benefiting the better off.

In its Budget statement, Right2Change said: 

“We have a housing, education and a healthcare crisis and it appears this government is living in denial about that fact. There is very little for those who are on the verge of losing their homes and it does nothing to address homelessness now.

“Politics is about choices and it’s becoming increasingly clear who this government are choosing to protect and look after.

“When people go to a public hospital and are forced to wait 24 hours to be seen by a doctor; or when a young family has to continue on the social housing list after already waiting 8 years; or if a child falls behind in school because they’re in the largest class sizes in the EU; they’ll remember that the priority for this government was to give tax cuts rather than invest in their future.”

Right2Change criticised the government’s capitulation to the employers’ lobby by giving a cut in employers’ PRSI despite already having the lowest social insurance rates in the EU.

The extra income for pensioners and the restoration in child benefit will be wiped out by water charges. 

“This is a paltry attempt to repair the savage cuts in the previous five budgets which targeted the most vulnerable, the young, the old, the unemployed and the sick.”

Right2Change also said the failure to give rent certainty through rent controls could exacerbate the homelessness crisis.

“This ‘giveaway’ budget has very serious implications for the future of our country. The idea that you cut taxes when GDP is growing at 4-6 percent is fiscally irresponsible. 

“If oil prices or interest rates rise in a couple of years’ times, this will impact negatively on the economy and this is a major risk.

“We needed to use this window to invest in our future as a nation but that has now been squandered. Essentially, this Budget was about buying votes but ultimately we believe that people will see through this short-term political trick. We need responsible government, not a return to the boom-and-bust politics that wrecked this country.”