Sunday 18 March 2018

Political interests shaped measures, FF claims

Fiach Kelly Political Correspondent

LOW and middle-income families will be hardest-hit by the Budget, Fianna Fail claims.

Michael McGrath, the party's finance spokesman, said the measures announced by Michael Noonan and Brendan Howlin were "shaped more by the respective party political needs of Fine Gael and Labour than the national interest".

He also called the mansion tax a "fig leaf" for Labour after it capitulated to Fine Gael on Universal Social Charge.

The senior coalition partner had ruled out a 3pc hike in the USC for income over €100,000.

"Principles that were articulated in opposition are forgotten around the table of power," Mr McGrath said.

He also described the abolition of the PRSI exemption threshold as "highly regressive".

"This will be seen for what it is – an increase in income tax through the back door, and it will fool no one," he added.

"A family on low to middle income, with three children, living in a modest house with a mortgage and valued at €220,000 in a full year will pay €405 in property tax, an increase of €305 on the household charge, and will lose €10 per month for the first and second child and €18 per month for the third child, a loss of €456 in a year.

"A one-income household will lose €264 in PRSI and at least another €50 in motor tax."

Fianna Fail public expenditure spokesman Sean Fleming said the Budget was not "poverty-proofed" because it was only presented to Cabinet last week.

It has been handled by the Economic Management Council, made up of Mr Noonan, Mr Howlin, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore.

Irish Independent Supplement

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