What you would do if you were Minister for Finance and in charge of the Budget for 2014?
One of the main difficulties that we now have in planning our Budget is the legacy issues.
Between 2001 and 2006 the numbers employed in the Health Service grew from 92,000 to 112,000 and those employed in the Education Sector grew by 25 per cent. Social Welfare payments went up by 67 per cent in the same period. We can no longer afford this. However, no matter how bad things, are Government tries to put some policy issues into the Budget to assist people and help growth. Some measures I would like to see:
1. Maximum assistance to job creation initiatives with a main aim of getting young people into work.
2. The continuance of the 9 per cent VAT rate.
3. The implementation of Stamp Duty Relief for young farmers and tax relief for Farm Partnerships as outlined in Budget 2013.
4. No increase in PRSI for self-employed and the reintroduction of the Business Expansion Scheme to include Wicklow.
5. Protection of the core welfare payments.
6. The development of workfare instead of welfare, encouraging all to obtain employment.
7. Develop additional tax incentives for investment in education and innovation.
8. Provision of funding to reduce the pupil/teacher ratio.
9. The changing of child benefit, after school-going age, to a school attendance allowance, this would save €100 million as children would have to be resident in the country.
10. A tax set off against property rental income for old age pensioners who move house to a rental property from their primary residence to live in proximity to a family member, this could be cost neutral with a reduction in home help costs.
11. A small grant of circa. €1,000 for retail businesses that allocate a certain percentage of floor space to tourist or local history related projects.
12. A user-friendly scheme for Local Authority Housing Tenants to assist in the buyout of the property.
Billy Timmins is an independent TD and a member of the Reform Alliance