Saturday 22 October 2016

Budget 2016: Michael Noonan rules out steep rises in property tax

By Lise Hand in Sligo

Published 22/07/2015 | 14:48

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has ruled out steep rises in property tax for hard-pressed home owners, as house prices continue to rise.

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Speaking in advance of the Cabinet meeting in Lissadell House in Sligo today, he said there would be “no future shocks in the demand for property tax” and that the government were examining ways to keep the levy “about the same as it is now.

The rise in property prices presents a headache for Minister Noonan as he prepares for the Budget, as presently owners face enormous hikes in their bills when they are next assessed in 2016. The property tax was first assessed in May 2013, but home prices have risen sharply since then. Outside Dublin, recent figures show an annual rise of 11.9 per cent - the largest since before the property crash seven years.

Minister Noonan said that property tax is “the big issue economically and politically,” adding the government “will have to work out how we’ll do future valuations and whether it will be a national charge or whether there will be some local element for some local authorities in it.”

He added that the report into possible reform of the property tax by Dr Don Thornhill will be”another input into the Budget”, also it won’t be published until closer to Budget Day in October.

The finance minister also said that the recovery “is bedding down now, it’s becoming deeper” and confirmed that the deficit for 2015 will come in at around €2.3bn which is less than predicted. “Obviouslyy that’s very good news in terms of the Budget,” he said, adding that he expected to have between €1.2bn and €1.5bn to spend, although “there are fragilities in the recovery that we need to make sure are addressed as the year goes by.”

It is the first time that this Cabinet have held a meeting outside Government Buildings, and security around the historic house was extremely tight as the front bench and the attorney general Maire Whelan arrived just before 1pm. Many of the ministers travelled by coach from Dublin, including the Taoiseach. The Cabinet will be briefed by Minister Noonan on the package of tax cuts and spending increases being put together for Budget Day. Ministers will also discuss a new law to give as many as 50,000 adopted people the right to their birth certificate for the first time. Also, Children’s Minister James Reilly will bring a memo on the working group’s report on the cost of childcare, which the minister will launch later today in Sligo.

The Cabinet is meeting in Lissadell to mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of WB Yeats who has close links to the house and to the county. A photocall was arranged at the house which was the home of Ireland’s first government minister, Constance Markievicz, with the women members of the Cabinet.

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