Dublin Fingal Senator Darragh O’Brien has described Budget 2016 as ‘a giveaway gimmick’ which offers nothing for working families.
“For a Government that is supposed to be prudent, it is bizarre that they borrowed to make this a giveaway budget.
“You have to worry what their priorities are? Working families continue to be squeezed. The free childcare places policy is a farce, there are still hundreds of people on trolleys in hospital emergency departments in Dublin and throughout the country and the whole issue of mortgage repossessions and homelessness was not addressed in the Budget.” Senator O’Brien commented, “this Government has also failed to protect pensioners or to provide security in old age. ‘The €3.00 increase to the State Pension falls well short of what was needed to offset the raft of punitive measures brought in by this Government, including increasing the prescription charge from €0.50 to €2.50, the significant reduction in the income threshold for the over 70s medical card, the attrition of the Household Benefits Package including abolishing the telephone Allowance, the reduction in the Fuel Allowance from 32 weeks to 26 weeks and also the abolishment of the €850 Bereavement Grant. Furthermore the €3 increase is not applicable to those in receipt of the widow’s/widower’s pension (under age 66) or those in receipt of the invalidity pension.”
The Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin Fingal went on to criticise the ‘stealth tax’ introduced in the Budget.
“The Minister for Finance was blowing his trumpet about the €595m of cuts to the Universal Social Charge he announced on Budget day but we have not heard a word from him in relation to the impact of the failure to increase tax bands and credits in line with inflation. In total the government is expecting to take in a record €19bn in income tax in 2016, €800m more than this year. Taxpayers will pay more tax as the income tax bands are not being adjusted to take account of expected inflation. The various personal and PAYE tax credits should also have been increased to mitigate the impact of inflation,” added Senator O’Brien.