Tax is­sues main fo­cus of Repub­lic’s bud­get

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY ED CARTY

THE Repub­lic’s mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment will un­veil a bud­get to­day with tax and spend­ing mea­sures worth about a bil­lion euro.

Fol­low­ing last-minute talks with the king-mak­ers on op­po­si­tion benches, all eyes will be on mod­est cuts to in­come tax, ini­tia­tives to ease the coun­try’s hous­ing and home­less­ness cri­sis, and mod­est wel­fare rises.

Ir­ish Fi­nance Min­is­ter Paschal Dono­hoe’s first bud­get in the Fine Gael gov­ern­ment is a del­i­cate bal­anc­ing act as he is re­liant on the sup­port of Fianna Fail to get it through.

It is the se­cond year in the Repub­lic’s his­tory that those in power will have ne­go­ti­ated with their tra­di­tional po­lit­i­cal ri­vals.

And much like last year, the crit­ics on the op­po­si­tion benches will be watch­ing closely to see how well the gov­ern­ment has thought to Brexit-proof Ire­land’s econ­omy.

Among the flagged re­forms are an eas­ing of the tax bur­den on av­er­age work­ing fam­i­lies.

The so-called squeezed mid­dle will be closely count­ing cuts to in­come tax and the deeply un­pop­u­lar Univer­sal So­cial Charge, which hits all but the low­est earn­ers.

A huge chunk of the money avail­able to Mr Dono­hoe will come from hikes in stamp duty on com­mer­cial prop­erty deals.

It is cur­rently at 2% and ev­ery per­cent­age in­crease is set to yield about €100m.

A sugar tax is also set to be on the menu.

First bud­get: Paschal Dono­hoe

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