Wednesday 16 October 2019

Budget 2020: The good, the bad, and the ugly

Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Good Budget

First-time buyers

Those looking to get on the property ladder will be relieved the Help-to-Buy scheme to help first-time buyers is being kept in its current form and will be extended for another two years.

Carbon Tax - the upside

Environmentalists will say the €6-per-tonne isn't going far enough but it is a sign the Government is getting serious about tackling climate change. The €90m it raises next year will be ring-fenced for climate action. It could be more, but it's about time.

More gardaí and teachers

An increase in the Garda budget will fund 700 recruits. There'll be 150 new mainstream teaching posts and another 400 to support students with special educational needs.

Tobacco hike

Smokers won't be happy but if the extra 50c on a pack of 20 cigarettes encourages more people to kick the habit it's no bad thing. On the bright side - there's no excise hikes on wine or beer.

Boost for breweries

And on that topic - good news for craft beer fans. Larger microbreweries will be allowed to expand with an increase in the qualifying production threshold to 50,000 hectolitres. That seems like a lot of beer.

Bad Budget

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit

The B-word put the kibosh on income tax cuts and social welfare increases. More than €1.2bn will be spent trying to stave off the worst effects on Ireland if there's a crash-out. Nobody's happy that level of cash may have to be forked out to offset the negative impact of the British decision to leave the EU.

The end of a fiver-for-everyone

Pensioners and child benefit recipients will be wondering what's become of the €5-a-week extra they've become accustomed to in recent Budgets. Brexit gets the blame of course.

Parents' childcare woes

Yes, there will be extra subsidised hours on offer but they won't kick in until next September and there's little help with spiralling crèche costs.

Carbon Tax - the downside

Yes it's on both lists because who likes a tax hike? Fuelling your car became more expensive at midnight. And there will be much scrutiny on how it affects people in rural Ireland and if supports for those in fuel poverty will be good enough.

And the ugly...

The 70-minute length of Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe's speech. He almost bored everyone into submission and the Opposition - when they woke up - wasn't much better.

Irish Independent

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