Saturday 17 March 2018

Bravery needed, but Budget duo bottled it

In just two short days, Howlin and Noonan put us back to where we were three years ago, writes James Fitzsimons

In nine months, the Government got nothing right. Even the Budget was a failure. While Labour's Brendan Howlin was like Scrooge, Fine Gael's Michael Noonan was Father Christmas.

He cut stamp duty for commercial property to two per cent. Mortgage interest relief was restored for a chosen few and certain property transactions will be exempt from Capital Gains Tax. He even cut the Universal Social Charge (USC) and extended the range of tax incentives for companies.

Nama hasn't gotten the property market moving as it was supposed to do so, so Noonan intervened to prevent property prices dropping. He should let them fall, and supply and demand will restore balance. It would happen without wasting scarce taxpayers' money. Noonan clearly plans on being around for the long haul, judging by these sinister giveaways.

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