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The Lowry/Healy-Rae shopping list

1) Exemption of medical card holders from the universal social charge

This was partially granted with the maximum USC rate for medical card holders dropped from 7pc to 4pc at a cost of €80m.

2) Exemption of 120,000 retired public servants from the universal social charge

This would have substantially reduced €2bn income from the USC and would have required the approval of EU and IMF. Not granted.

3) Reverse decision to bring forward the Preliminary Tax Payment date for the self-employed from October 31 to September 30

There was broad consensus that this was sensible. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said the earlier deadline would have provided better Budgetary information but it would have also caused "real difficulties" for farmers and other self-employed business people.

4) Reverse decision to not allow tax relief on student fees

Despite what Mr Lowry said, there was actually no change required here -- because the Budget had provided for tax relief for parents on student fees over €2,000. That means that parents paying a €2,000 student contribution fee for one student will get no relief, but those paying a €2,000 fee for a second student will get a tax refund of around €400.

5) Include the 90pc tax on bankers' bonuses in the Finance Bill

This had been taken out of the bill due to fears it would delay its speedy passage into law. But Mr Lenihan said yesterday that he would now bring forward such an amendment. "However, I will need all-party co-operation on this amendment because it has not been published with the other Committee Stage amendments."

Irish Independent