The Measures

Tuesday 29 July 2014

Families and women are big losers in austerity drive

Published 06/12/2012|05:00

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FAMILIES will be feeling the brunt of Budget 2013 for a long time. We have been mugged, will be the feeling many will be left with after speeches from ministers Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin.

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At least €1,000 will be sucked out of the household income of an average family.

Women were also big losers.

The move to tax new mothers could be a big banana skin that forces some backsliding by the Government.

Up to now mothers on maternity leave did not have to pay tax on the social welfare payments they get for the 26 weeks they get to spend with the new-born.


In a small concession, Mr Noonan said he would apply income tax, but not the universal social charge, to maternity benefits.

And as most women are the main carers in the home, the latest cut to child benefit will keenly felt by the mammies of Ireland.

Child benefit is being cut for the third time since 2008.

The rate will fall to €130 a month for children.

This means that a family with two children getting the benefit will be down €240 a year.

Since 2008, this family will have seen their payment drop by €864 a year.

The mammies of Ireland will not take the assault on maternity pay and another hit to child benefit lightly.

Expect the phone lines into Joe Duffy in RTE to be jammed for the next few days. Many will see it as a war on women.

And if the one or both of the parents are working, the changes to Pay Related Social Insurance ( PRSI) payments will be another big blow.

From next year all income from €1 up will have PRSI applied at 4pc, unless they are low earners. The change will mean that most PAYE workers will pay an extra €264 per year.

It may have been well detailed in advance in this newspaper, but the property tax is still going to be hugely controversial.

An ordinary house will generate a property tax of €300 when the new charge comes into full swing in 2014.

A €175,000 house will end up with a property tax of €157 next year – when half of the tax will be due.

A family with a €300,000 house will have to pay €585 from 2014 on.

And there will be little chance of escaping the charge. Workers who do not pay the new property tax will have the money taken from their pay packets.

The new measure will also apply to those who are not in work and are receiving social welfare benefits.


Documents issued by the Department of Finance last night set out that people who do not want to pay up will be left with little choice in the matter.

The Revenue Commissioners will instruct their employers to deduct the amount the tax officials estimate is due.

This will also apply to the Department of Social Protection, which pays out social payments such as jobseeker's benefit.

There will be some relief for those in trouble paying their mortgage, but they will only get to defer the tax and the concession will only apply to those whose income is low to start with.

Getting around is set to get a whole lot more expensive due to dramatic rises in motor tax.

Motorists have been spared a rise in duty on petrol and diesel, but the changes to motor tax will be increases of between €50 a year and €126.

Owners of a typical family car that was first registered before 2008 and has a 1.6-litre engine are facing annual tax of €514, a rise of €36.

For those households with a student, education will become more expensive.

There is an increase in the student contribution of €250.

Savers have not been spared, with the Government eyeing up the €92bn stashed away in banks by householders.

There will be a big hike in the tax that covers deposits.

The deposit interest retention tax (DIRT) is to jump from 30pc to 33pc from the first day of next year. It went up by the same amount last year.

And people with money in banks, credit unions and building societies will also be hit by having pay related social insurance (PRSI) for the first time from the start of 2014.

Carbon tax has gone up again, with the changes set at €1.20 for a 40kg bag of coal and 26c added to the cost of a bale of briquettes.

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