Yes you ARE better off, insists Leo as scepticism grows
TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has insisted that taxpayers are substantially better off after the Budget in the face of growing disquiet about its real impact.
‘When you reduce taxes, you are not giving people money, you are just allowing them to keep more of their own money,’ he told the national conference of the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) in Croke Park yesterday.
‘At a time of low inflation, Budget 2018 means that a family with a combined gross income of €60,000 is likely to be about one thousand euro better off in takehome pay this time next year because of our tax changes and projected average pay increases of 2%,’ he said. A number of experts have argued that the benefits would be much the same if there had been no budget ‘largesse’ and the Government had simply increased tax bands, credits and allowances to account for inflation and wage rises.
The Taoiseach told builders at the conference that he had retained the helpto-buy scheme for young househunters, a measure the CIF had been strongly urging.
He pointed out that the Government had also ‘ringfenced’ an additional €4.1billion for allocation over the period to 2021 – on top of the existing Capital Plan and the extra €2.2billion already committed to housing.
The Taoiseach acknowledged people were sceptical about politicians announcing ten-year plans, ‘but look at what we did in the last five years when we had little money.’
He listed new schemes the Government has backed such as the Luas Cross City; Páirc Uí Chaoimh; the National Gallery extension; the National Sports Campus; the Greenways; the new National Children’s Hospital now under construction; Newlands Cross, the GortTuam motorway, the N11, 50 primary care centres, and 200 new schools.
‘Imagine what we can do in the next ten years if we had the money,’ he said.