Reaction to Budget 2012: Part 1

L-R: Brendan Howlin pictured during the Labour...
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Today we got a look at the first part of Budget 2012 . Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin today announced a series of measures that add up to the €2.2bn in cuts.

The main points that I took from today’s announcements:

  • Government will reduce the size of the public service to 282,500 by end 2015
  • €250 added to the Student Registration Fee
  • Student Support funding cut by 14%
  • Student Maintenance Grant cut by 3%
  • No new post Graduate Maintenance Grants
  • Community Employment Scheme: The training and materials grant will reduce from €1,500 to €500 per participant per annum
  • Disability Allowance Cut to €0 for those aged 16 and 17
  • Disability Allowance for under 25s cut from €188 to €100 if under 21 and €144 if under 24. Now same as jobseekers allowance
  • Drugs Payment Scheme increased to €132
  • The frequency of the grant for hearing aids will change from 2 years to 4 years.
  • Winter Fuel Allowance reduced to 26 weeks from 32

There are plenty of other cuts and changes announced, see the links at the end for them all.

To me what stands out from this budget is the Disabled. Above I highlighted the cuts to young people with Disabilities, but on top of that there are cuts to the Equality Tribunal, Equality Authority and the Budget for Equality Proofing is completely gone. This is not how we are going to look after people in our society and allow them to live their lives with dignity.

The cuts also focus on students with an increase in Registration fees and grant cuts. We cannot tax our way out of the recession but we do need a knowledge economy we we want to get out the recession so cuts in Education make very little sense.

In these times it is understandable that the Government faces tough choices, and these cuts were probably hard to make. No one is ever 100% happy we a budget, and very few people will be close to that after today’s announcement. But as An Taoiseach warned us in his National Address, these are tough times and tough measures are needed, but they too need to be balanced. The problem with the cuts announced today is that these same people will be hit tomorrow in any announcement of an increase in indirect taxation, especially a VAT rise.

The Minister for Finance will deliver his Budget statement at 3:45pm tomorrow.

Further Reading:

Budget 2012 (pt 1): the main points of Brendan Howlin’s announcement

Budget 2010: The Good and the Bad

Value added tax
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If you are looking for indepth stuff on the budget, you wont find it here! Vists Suzy and Irish Election if you are looking for that sort of stuff! This is my reaction to the budget, which I mostly missed due to college. Hence why I wasnt tweeting.

General Reaction: My first reaction is that this budget won’t make a whole load of difference to me. Things may get cheaper with VAT and Excise cuts, but the carbon tax may cut the savings on it. Yes this is a selfish reaction, but this is how we all react to the budget. How will it effect me!

The Good: So what was good in the budget? The public sector pay cuts were needed. It is a pity there wasn’t an agreement on it, but it needed to happen. The 10% cut in the Taosieachs pay (he took the other 10% already) was a move in the right direction, and so is the cut in ministers pay. The reduction of VAT back to 21% was a good move, but maybe he should have taken a full per centage off it? I agree with the cut in social welfare if you refuse a job.

The Bad: The budget is a bit of fob in my opinion. Its tokenistic to being green. The forestry scheme (which was explained to me by Peter) is a complete and utter fob! The scrappage scheme is like what the hell? Who wanted that? The cut in social welfare is hard to defend and as Suzy points out wont be as protested against as the Pension cuts last time.

“Unlike older people, people with disabilities and their carers, children and the unemployed are not as mobile to protest or vote for that matter.”

The Carbon Tax then is another way of putting more excise on petrol and diesel and will actually increase the cost of everything as everything has to be transported. The 50c on the Medical Card Prescription Items is going to take a while to get used to. I am still still trying to fathom the drop in the excise on drink? Why did that happen? Also why no increase in tobacco excise? I had smokers giving out last night over that has they were hoping for an increase as an incentive to give up smoking!

So thats my opinion. There is no doubt that this budget is a half-arsed fob. Where are the concrete actions, where is the stimulus for Irish Business? Not the banks.

The Government has its priorities wrong and Richard Bruton was right to mention TK Whittaker and Sean Lemass in his remarks considering they had a vision for Ireland and pulled us up by our laces. This budget doesn’t even tie them!

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Recession Diary: 27th May 2009

So it happened. Something I didn’t think would happen. Or maybe something I wouldnt let myself think would happen. All the warnings were there, but I didn’t think it would happen.

I got handed my notice.

Thats right. I am now unemployed.

I never thought I would be upset about loosing my job. But everytime I think about it, my eyes well up.

Yes, I know I am not alone in loosing my job, but its a gutting esperience when it happens.

Whats to blame for me loosing my job?  The Government.

Why? Cause they have raised VAT (Something my employer absorbed and didn’t raise prices) and they have raised income tax. This means people are spending less.

The retail sector in this country is in a downward spiral. Shops, especially independents are tight for cash, with bills not being paid etc.

The Government need to see what its doing wrong as at the moment all it is doing is shutting down small business. We need to get Ireland back to work!

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