So what do I think of the budget?
For a start it was probably the least equitable budget in the history of the state.
Virtually every measure was introduced without any mention of ability to pay. Not one fucking exemption for the lower paid. And without exception just about every cut or tax rise will impact heavily on those least able to pay. The only measure that hits the well-off is a €1 hike in the price of a bottle of wine. Big fucking deal.
Children’s allowances cut. A 300% rise in prescription charges. Savage cuts in the Carer’s Allowance. A hike in the Drugs Repayment Scheme. The pint and smokes up, though the one really cheerful aspect of the budget was Tobacco Control having conniptions at a 10c hike in fags – they wanted €1. Fuck them. The price of coal hiked to cover fucking Green Taxes. Car tax up. Virtually every measure will hit the hard up very badly, while those at the top of the heap will barely notice any difference.
And then of course there is the Home Tax.
They call it a Property Tax which makes it sound like a card in a game of Monopoly. It implies we all have fantastic property portfolios, but I prefer to call it a Home Tax because that’s what it is – a tax on the roof over our heads.
It is a tax that is wrong on so many levels.
First and foremost, there is a mere handful of exceptions. First time buyers are exempted and also those who are financially suicidal enough to buy into a ghost estate. That’s it.
For those who are in negative equity and paying back a loan of twice the value of their property – no exceptions.
For those who are heavily in arrears because they cannot afford their mortgage – no exceptions.
For those living on a pension in the home that has been in the family for generations – no exceptions.
Well over 10% of all mortgages are in arrears at the moment. In most cases the breadwinner has lost his or her job and the family are struggling on a day to day basis. It is not a case of “can we afford to go out tonight” rather a case of “can we afford to eat tonight”. These people have now been hit with a cut in Children’s Allowance which alone is enough to push them deeper into the poverty trap, but they are not exempted from the Home Tax either. Tough shit. Cough up.
They have made one little concession to us of The Elderly Persuasion – if we genuinely cannot afford to pay the Home Tax, then that’s OK….. they’ll collect it off us after we are dead. And that just about sums up the budget – they don’t give a fuck whether we are on the point of suicide or already dead – they are going to skin us anyway. The gubmint care about one thing and one thing only – balancing the books so they get a pat on the back from Brussels. It is patently obvious that the people of Ireland are there to be sacrificed on the altar of Fiscal Rectitude.
The German bankers must be laughing.
Not to mention the Man with a Van.