Mak­ing sense of Bud­get 2018

The Irish Times - - Comment & letters -

Sir, – There is an­other anom­aly in re­la­tion to the non-con­trib­u­tory pen­sion. In as­sess­ing the means there is a dis­re­gard of ¤200 per week in the case of in­come from em­ploy­ment and the early farm re­tire­ment scheme. This does not ap­ply to those who may have a small work pen­sion. Could any­thing be more bonkers ?

We fix the banks and give cheap loans to de­vel­op­ers and yet we put road­blocks in the way of pen­sion­ers. Is it any won­der that peo­ple are de­sert­ing the es­tab­lished po­lit­i­cal par­ties? – Yours, etc, MICHAEL JOY, Mi­dle­ton,

Co Cork.

Sir, – An es­ti­mated 4,000 so­cial hous­ing homes will be de­liv­ered next year, de­spite 100,000 be­ing needed. This is re­build­ing Ire­land? At this rate it will take 25 years to pro­vide what we need!

A 30 cent in­crease in the min­i­mum wage to ¤9.55, de­spite the liv­ing wage be­ing es­ti­mated to be ¤11.70. This mea­gre amount will not be enough to help the one in nine chil­dren liv­ing in con­sis­tent poverty in Ire­land.

Putting ¤1.5 bil­lion away for a rainy day fund? Well, the rainy day is here for many who are strug­gling to keep a roof over their heads and the many who strug­gle to put food on their ta­bles. – Yours, etc,

Cllr FRAN­CIS TIM­MONS, Clon­dalkin, Dublin 22.

Sir, – While the pro­vi­sion of so­cial wel­fare is clearly es­sen­tial to a fair so­ci­ety, the goal ought to be to min­imise the num­bers de­pen­dent on such sup­port.

One of the sig­nif­i­cant chal­lenges for Gov­ern­ment there­fore is how to in­cen­tivise in­di­vid­u­als to take low-paid jobs. The cur­rent bud­get raises job seek­ers al­lowance by ¤5 per week and pro­vides a Christ­mas bonus. This must look gen­er­ous to those earn­ing ¤20,000 to ¤25,000 per year, who are only bet­ter off to the tune of a euro per week. Un­in­tended per­haps, but a con­se­quence none­the­less. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN, Kin­sale,

Co Cork.

Sir, – The main theme of Bud­get 2018 is that “the books are broadly bal­anced”, ig­nor­ing the small mat­ter of a bud­geted deficit of ¤2.76 bil­lion. Why can we not say it as it is? An­other ¤2.76 bil­lion to add to our moun­tain­ous na­tional debt. – Yours, etc, MICHAEL MON­AGHAN, Mount Mer­rion,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Ro­nan Scan­lan ad­vo­cates “com­ple­tion” of the tax in­di­vid­u­al­i­sa­tion, es­sen­tially won­der­ing why cou­ples should be jointly as­sessed for tax (Oc­to­ber 11th). The an­swer is ob­vi­ous (apart from any so­ci­etal con­sid­er­a­tions), cou­ples are jointly as­sessed when it comes to State ben­e­fits. More­over, if my spouse and I were to sep­a­rate, there would be a court de­ter­mined division of as­sets and in­come. In our dotage, we will be ex­pected to look after each other be­fore the State steps in; in­deed, trans­fers be­tween cou­ples are ex­empt from taxes as it is pre­sumed the as­sets and in­come be­long to both par­ties.

If Mr Scan­lan is look­ing to cut a more il­log­i­cal and eco­nom­i­cally du­bi­ous sop to the mid­dle class, he should start with the cap­i­tal gains tax ex­emp­tion for prop­erty, which means that renters and those who have paid the high­est prices are sub­si­dis­ing prop­erty own­ers who have made enor­mous un­earned gains. – Yours, etc, MATTHEW GLOVER, Lu­can,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – An­other bud­get and yet again this year not a cent of an in­crease on du­ties on al­co­hol. This is de­spite the fact that one euro in every 10 of the health bud­get is spent on ser­vices for peo­ple who suf­fer the con­se­quences of al­co­hol mis­use; that some 400,000 peo­ple in Ire­land and those as­so­ci­ated with them are af­fected by al­co­hol abuse; that al­co­hol is a ma­jor fac­tor in traf­fic ac­ci­dents, sui­cide, do­mes­tic abuse and as­saults in public places.

Bud­get 2018 sim­ply demon­strates that share­hold­ers in the Ir­ish drinks in­dus­try and in the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor gen­er­ally con­tinue to be on a win­ning streak.

Sadly, Ir­ish so­ci­ety as a whole, and in par­tic­u­lar those who will never ben­e­fit from a drinks com­pany div­i­dend, will con­tinue to suf­fer the con­se­quences of liv­ing in a so­ci­ety in which pow­er­ful vested in­ter­ests call the shots. – Yours, etc, Dr MICHAEL LOF­TUS, Cross­molina,

Co Mayo.

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