THE Government's Budget
2015 has declared an end to austerity and was the
first budget in seven years to cut taxes and
However, the FG/Labour coalition said it was a
budget that would sustain the recovery and was still
"prudent and responsible". It delivered some gains
for taxpayers, welfare recipients, small businesses
and young farmers. But Opposition parties declared
that it did little to help struggling families and
was an attempt to "buy" the next election.
Some key measures:
Top Income Tax rate reduced from 41% to 40%
1,700 new education posts including 920 teachers
€5 increase in Child Benefit from January
25% Christmas bonus for people on welfare
Tourism VAT rate kept at 9%
Up to €100 tax relief on Water Charges for
€13.1 billion budget for Department of Health
Twenty cigarettes up by 40c
€2.2 billion for social housing over three years
€9 increase for those living alone
Sinn Féin Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty
described Budget 2015 as “deeply disappointing”
adding that it did “nothing for struggling
“Recovery must mean people’s lives are improving,
that the financial and emotional burden of the
recession is lifted, that tomorrow is better than
“What today’s budget shows us is that there is a
recovery but only for the few. The vast majority of
people are no better off.
“A low paid worker on €30,000 will gain €174 – less
than the lowest possible water charge bill of €176."
Independent T.D., Thomas Pringle TD said: “What is
particularly notable is that the tax credit for
water charges is for a bill up to a maximum of €500
which flies in the face of the Government stating
that the average water bill would be around €240 per
year. And what is equally disturbing is that low
paid workers will not be able to avail of the tax
credit or any social welfare support to pay for
their water bill, meaning that the low paid worker
is suffering the most as usual.
“Ultimately, the better off are gaining from this
budget with high earners benefiting up to three
times more than a person on the minimum wage."
The Restaurants Association of Ireland praised the
Government’s decision to retain the 9% VAT rate on
Its chief executive Adrian Cummins said: VAT at 9%
into 2015 is crucial, not only to the sustainability
of restaurants and businesses in the tourism sector,
but also to job creation and regrowth for our
"The success of the lower rate of VAT is evident in
the 34,052 new jobs that have been created since its
introduction in 2011 and in the savings to the
Exchequer of €699.72 million in the past three
Clúid Housing warmly welcomed a trebling in capital
funding for social housing.
Clúid head of policy Simon Brooke said:
“There are currently 90,000 households on housing
waiting lists across the country. Of these, we
estimate that 30,000 households are living in
seriously substandard housing.
“We need to remember that capital spending on social
housing was €1.48 billion in 2007 but by 2014 it had
been cut by a massive 85%. Consequently, social
house building has collapsed. In 2007, local
authorities and housing associations produced 8,700
new homes; by 2013 this had slumped to 757, a
staggering drop of over 90%.
“We are absolutely delighted with this (Budget 2015)
increase. It will enable housing associations to
provide over 2000 new homes over the next three
years. Between housing associations and local
authorities the Government estimates that over
10,000 new social rented homes will be provided by
The Carers Association is angry that the
Government’s 19 per cent cut to the Respite Care
Grant – a lifeline for over 77,000 family carers –
was not reversed in Budget 2015. The Carers
Association welcomed "the beginning of a reversal of
cuts to social welfare payments" but the
organisation is "devastated that family carers have
been neglected in this reversal".
“With Government declaring an end to austerity
measures, family carers are yet again ignored,
despite saving the State €4 billion each year," said
head of communications, Catherine Cox
"We are extremely disappointed that the 19% cut
applied to the Respite Care Grant has not been
reinstated and mistakenly believed Government would
look after those hit hardest in past "budgets."
Fianna Fáil education spokesperson Charlie
McConalogue TD said: “The failure of the Government
to provide funds in (Budget 2015) for the payment of
a minor works grant will leave a hole of €9,500 in
the average primary school next year. This is money
which schools will instead be forced to fundraise
from hard-pressed parents and local communities.
"Its omission from the education budget is further
proof that the once-off payment of the grant in
advance of the recent local elections was nothing
more than an election stunt.
“Cuts of 1% to student capitation payments at
primary and secondary level will also pile
additional financial pressure on schools, while the
provision of more teachers at primary and second
level will merely accommodate the increased number
of students in our schools."