Saturday 25 November 2017

Please God, let Budget be the last of its kind

Strong on injustice but weak on fiscal impact, the financial masterplan at times defies logic, says Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

Marc Coleman

Better than last year's; more reforming than previous Budgets and free of income tax rises: rare though they are, small mercies should be welcomed when they arrive. But small mercies are all the latest Budget has to offer, alas.

Perhaps the Government is still on bambi legs. But as Stephen Collins wrote last week in the Irish Times, fortune favours the brave and this Budget is anything but brave: where it could have discontinued the €50m paid annually to RTE from the Department of Social Protection, it cut €46.6m in disability allowances.

By going some way towards Fergus Finlay's suggestion -- preserving pay increments only for public workers earning less than €50,000 a year -- the cuts in both fuel allowance for the elderly and overseas aid could have been averted. And of course a courageous, well-timed haircut to subordinated bondholders would have removed most if not all of this week's pain. Please God, let this Budget be the very last of its kind.

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