Wednesday 13 December 2017

No sugar tax and not much provided for young people

Ireland is ranked fifth highest among 27 EU countries in incidence of childhood obesity
Ireland is ranked fifth highest among 27 EU countries in incidence of childhood obesity
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

The first 'giveaway' Budget since the economic crash has left first-time buyers, variable mortgage holders, savers and those campaigning for a sugar tax disappointed.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan is facing accusations that he overlooked young people.

President of the National Youth Council of Ireland Ian Power welcomed the 50c hike to the minimum wage as 39pc of those on this rate are under 30. But he said it was "extremely disappointing to see the lack of action regarding young jobseekers".

"We were told that this Budget was about 'all sharing in the recovery', however for young jobseekers this is clearly not the case," he added.

Some measures to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder had been anticipated, such as changes to the Deposit Interest Retention Tax (Dirt) but Mr Noonan shied away from this.

Neither was there any specific measures to tackle Ireland's high variable mortgage interest rates. The Department of Finance also ruled out a new sugar tax, as proposed by Health Minister Leo Varadkar and Children's Minister James Reilly.

"It's hard to escape the conclusion that by failing to introduce a tax on sugar-sweetened drinks, the Government is prioritising the wealth of multinational companies over the nation's health and particularly the health of children.

"We know 60pc of the Irish public back the tax," the Irish Heart Foundation head of advocacy, Chris Macey, said.

Irish Independent

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