Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Social Protection Barry Cowen TD has said the government’s new VAT policy demonstrates warped priorities. Deputy Cowen was speaking after the government confirmed changes to VAT rates as part of their jobs initiative.

He commented, “When Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced that the 13.5% VAT rate was being cut to 9%, many would have been forgiven for thinking that this represented good news for many of our more vulnerable citizens.  With heating oil, coal, peat and gas all currently on the 13.5% rate, a cut would have made life slightly easier for those on the margins.

“However when we look at the fine print, we discover that these necessities are explicitly excluded from the reduction.  The Fine Gael/Labour government has introduced a bizarre situation where the VAT on a five course meal and a trip to the theatre is reduced, but the VAT on the fuel used to heat your home is maintained at a higher rate.

“Cutting the price of luxury goods will make no real difference to the lives of the vast majority of people in this country.  It is clear that when presented with the first opportunity to deliver on much publicised election promises the government is found wanting.  Unfortunately this is not unexpected. It will leave many people wondering just what of the promises made by Fine Gael and Labour TDs actually will be delivered.”