The vacant homes tax, proposed by the government, is especially pathetic
The government’s budget can be characterised by a fundamental lack of targeting with high income earners benefiting disproportionately, according to Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shortall.
“A failure to target supports at those who need them most is a recurring theme with this government – and the tax changes announced today are perhaps the most acute example of this.
“Just 23pc of income earners pay the top rate of tax, but more than 80% of the benefits of today’s tax changes accrue to those workers. While those earning below €37,000 benefit by just €175, higher income earners will benefit by more than €800.
“This failure to target resources can again be seen with the energy credit for households. Every household, no matter how wealthy, will receive the same €600 payment – even as some of those households make a daily choice between feeding their families and heating their homes.
“One of the biggest disappointments of this budget is the failure to adequately increase core social welfare rates. During the worst cost-of-living crisis in a generation, the government has increased those rates by just €12.
“The supports for lone parents and disabled people – who are most at risk of poverty – are also grossly inadequate. An increase in the Qualified Child Increase by €2 is so miserly, in the context of this €11 billion budget, that it borders on insulting.
“The €500 one-off cost-of-disability payment is completely misjudged. Does the government think that disability is one-off or temporary? Or that supports for disability can be dealt with in one-off measures?
“The Social Democrats had proposed a €20 per week – or €1,040 per annum – cost-of-disability payment as a first step to the State finally recognising that the costs associated with disability are recurring, unavoidable and hugely expensive.
“A permanent cost-of-disability payment, which increases in a reliable way year-on-year, is not a panacea, by any means. It is just a first step in the State finally acknowledging that having a disability comes with increased costs which are not borne by others in society.
“The housing measures included in this budget are deeply concerning and suggest the government is wedded to its failed Housing For All plan – which which is dismally failing to meet even its own anaemic targets.
“The vacant homes tax, proposed by the government, is especially pathetic. It amounts to just 0.3% of the value of homes. In contrast, the Social Democrats had proposed a punitive 10pc tax to get these homes back into use. The government’s proposal is derisory in comparison.
“Alarmingly, the Parliamentary Budget Office and the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council have calculated that an extra €7 billion per year is required just to allow public services to stand still. The government has today allocated less than half of that figure.
“This has huge implications for the provision of public services in 2023 and beyond – and the impact will be felt in a further erosion in the availability of vital supports.”
27 September 2022