Budget 2013 live blog

Budget 2013 live blog

IT Wed, Dec 5

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  • 09:25
    Welcome to the Irish Times live blog on Budget day. We'll be here throughout the day to keep you up to date with all the news as it happens, from the time ministers meet to the aftermath of the speeches.
  • 09:26
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin are due to speak from 2.30pm. Irishtimes.com will be streaming the speeches live, and outlining the main points of the budget measures as they are announced. We'll also be tweeting from the @IrishTimesBiz account.
  • 09:29
    Once it's all done and dusted, Political Editor Stephen Collins, Economics Editor Dan O’Brien, PricewaterhouseCoopers partner Feargal O'Rourke and other Irish Times correspondents will share their insights. And Political Correspondent Harry McGee will interview Mr Howlin on the key changes introduced by the Government on irishtimes.com this evening.
  • 09:30
    If you've got any queries, we'll have experts from The Irish Times and PricewaterhouseCoopers on hand to answer them once Budget 2013 is announced, through until noon tomorrow.
  • 09:31
    And once all the measures have been announced, we'll have a budget calculator up and running to help you work out the implications of the decisions for your personal finances.
  • 09:34
  • 09:41
    Here's today's front page of the Irish Times.
  • 09:41
    According to the political team, pensioners with high incomes are going to be one of the primary targets of today’s budget. They're facing an estimated €500 million in new taxes and cuts.
  • 09:42
    That's for high earners who have substantial pension provision or high assets. Those over 70 with incomes of €60,000 or more are facing a three-point increase in universal social charge (USC), bringing it from 4 per cent to 7 per cent, which applies to under 70s.
  • 09:42
    Annual tax relief on pension contributions is expected to be capped at €60,000. That move is expected to generate savings of €200 million.
  • 09:43
    Meanwhile, PRSI is expected to be extended to non-earned income such as rental income, share and dividend income is expected. That will take in the private income of hospital consultants, currently exempt from PRSI.
  • 09:44
    As for the rest of the Budget, a lot has already been leaked.
  • 09:44
    We're also facing a property tax averaging about €300 a year. Among the rest of the measures are a cut of €10 a month in the rate of child benefit.
  • 09:44
    A hike in excise duty on alcohol and cigarettes. A 15 per cent rise in motor and VRT taxes. The abolition of the €127 a year PRSI allowance.
  • 09:45
    A cut in the telephone, electricity and gas allowances for pensioners. An increase in hospital accident and emergency department charges A doubling of the prescription charge for medical card patients to €1.
  • 09:45
    A clampdown on sick pay in the public service. A reduction in the extra maternity leave available to teachers to the standard 26-week public service norm.
  • 09:46
    An increase in the pupil-teacher ratio. A rise in third-level registration fees. A cut in TDs’ expenses and perks.
  • 09:46
    That last one would want to be hefty to keep people happy.
  • 09:46
    As always, we welcome your comments throughout the day.
  • 09:47
    What budget measure would you be least happy with?
  • 10:26
    The Irish Examiner's front page carries a story about the Government feeling the pressure today after a blow-par tax take in yesterday's Exchequer returns.

    They also have similar budget predictions - property tax, child benefit cut, rises in motor taxes.
  • 10:26
    Hands up who has bought a new car in the past few years that fit into the lower tax bands?

  • 10:26
    We're all about to see that low rate of motor tax rise.
  • 10:29
    The Examiner reports on a Government study that says the increase expected in the duty on tobacco today will cause the illegal tobacco trade to increase.
  • 10:29
    That means less money to the Exchequer as a result.
  • 10:29
    Which kind of defeats the purpose, don't you think?
  • 10:30
    Also, our corporation tax rate is staying at 12.5 per cent, according to Enda. The US multinationals (and their employees) must be breathing a sigh of relief.
  • 10:44
    The Irish Independent says that some Labour TDs are at risk of quitting over the proposed cuts
  • 10:46
    Having a look around Twitter, there's everything from gallows humour to out and out pessimism.
  • 10:47
    I do like this though: http://thevibesofireland.com/

    It's tracking the mood of the country through Twitter.
  • 11:06
  • 11:24
    Dave¥ Two questions. Does increasing taxes on tobacco not seem to be counter productive at this stage as we seem to have a very strong illegal trade in this area. Secondly, why are FG so reluctant to break income tax election promises ( a tax on earnings over 100k, which seems both reasonable and fair) when they might have to fold to this request further down the line leaving it fresh in memory closer to re-election.
  • 11:24
    Mark Kearns I cannot believe that, given the events of the past decade or so when a minority filled their boots, a rise in income tax for high earners will not be implented and yet more regressive taxation will be pushed through. This is a case of FG protecting their own while Labour stand by for the sake of being in Gov't. This will be be the final straw for me personally...
  • 11:25
    I agree Dave - and apparently so does the Revenue. The benefit to the Exchequer is being lost the more they hike the prices.
  • 11:26
    If the €127 PRSI exemption is ditched for all those earning over €352 a week, Harry McGee says that it could hit lower income groups proportionately harder. It'll be a controversial move.

  • 11:31
  • 11:31
    Here's Michael Noonan arriving this morning at the Department of Finance.
  • 11:35
    Conor So we're not going to cut the dole and keep the incentive for people to not work i take it?
  • 11:38
    Daniel JA is going to be cut
  • 11:38
    Mark Kearns This is correct Dave, Put the boot in now and then ease the pain nearer to the next election. Forget the mirco analysis for a moment: as a nation,I think that we should feel deeply ashamed at how we more or less stand idly by and watch this happen to our country, to our fellow citizens most in need. Awful, sad and the repercussions will be felt for years to come....
  • 11:39
    But according to Enda, it's a "challenging but positive step” on a continuing path to economic recovery.

  • 11:39
    *hollow laugh*
  • 11:45
    Will My friend Geoffrey is a butler and is looking to come to Ireland, he says things are bad in West Philidephia and Ireland isnt too bad
  • 11:54
    Carlton I think you'll find Geoffrey lives in Belair.
  • 11:54
    Ted Murray Noonan Frankenstein, running around like a headless chicken as he waits for the lightning bolt to kick-start the doomed creature that is the Irish economy.
  • 11:55
  • 11:55
    "So what are the prospects for growth next year? Consider first the reasons for cautious optimism. For the first time since 2007, the property market has been stable for a sustained period, with no downward trend in residential property prices for more than six months. Risks of further declines are real, but the fundamentals of the market tentatively suggest that a bottom may have been reached."
  • 11:56
    "But while there have been positive developments at home and abroad, there are no shortages of weaknesses. Risks are many and large.

    The euro crisis may be in a period of calm, but it is a very long chalk from being over. The bloc as a whole is in recession and growth prospects for next year are poor. This will not only crimp demand for Irish exports, but weakness in Europe’s real economy is one reason why the crisis might well flare up again in the first half of next year.

    Another possible trigger for more euro woes is political dithering.

    Europe’s leaders are dragging their feet again on addressing the fundamental flaws in the design of the euro project. "
  • 11:56
    "those who forecast the trajectory of the Irish economy have been revising their projections for next year. So has the Government. Its budgetary arithmetic is predicated on 1.5 per cent growth of gross domestic product, another year of contraction in the domestic economy, and a halt to the fall in the numbers at work.

    These forecasts are plausible, but so were the forecasts last year and the year before. Those projections proved too optimistic. It remains more likely that the assumptions on the economy underpinning today’s budget turn out to be overly optimistic than overly pessimistic."
  • 11:58
    Bit of a mixed bag there.
  • 12:00
    Five years of austerity budgets, but it seems that on Twitter at least, some people still have a sense of humour.
  • 12:01
    And there's already talk of protests this afternoon.
  • 12:05
    L. Murphy I heard rumours in the hunting club that a new levy on weapons is to be introduced, can anyone confirm this is true?
  • 12:15
    If you want to have a go at balancing your own budget, try here: http://www.publicpolicy.ie/balance-budget/
  • 12:15
    Guest Say it ain't so L. Murphy, so you might have to give up killing things?
  • 12:21
    charlie sheen get out while ye can
  • 12:28
    charlie sheen 29th March 2012 - Junior Minister of Sport Michael Ring says "sports clubs in ministers' constituencies will no longer be the biggest beneficiaries of the new €30m grant fund.
  • 12:28
    charlie sheen 3rd November 2012 - "Michael Ring defends decision to award a €200,000 grant to a soccer club based in his home town."
  • 12:44
    I'll refrain from any mind-numbing weather/austerity analogies but I was very cold on my commute to the office today.
  • 12:55
    It's impossible to predict what the future holds for the Irish economy with another three hairshirt budgets on the way (this is number five of seven). Ireland is, however, uniquely capable of stomaching more austerity than most countries as its domestic economy is dwarfed by its export-led one.

    It would be suicidal for the Spaniards to embark on a similar austerity agenda given the size of their domestic economy. That said, the country's fortunes are tied to a domestic recovery. There are mixed signs at the moment. While the property market seems to be stabilising yesterday's exchequer returns do not point to recovery with tax returns remaining weak even by the Government's miserly projections.
  • 12:58
    Ted Murray I predict huge traffic jams on the roads leading to docks and airports and a phenomenal increase in the sale of one-way tickets. Good luck to the coalition in trying to collect their fiscal requirements from the 300 tax-payers remaining.
  • 12:58
    Guest What will the penalties be for not paying the property tax?
  • 12:58
    Guest and what about just not paying the new motor tax rates???
  • 12:58
    Double.D Was that Noonan arriving by Dublin Bus this morning? How could he afford to travel in such style on this day of all days? He might be alright, he may have his leap card.
  • 12:58
    JackManus A 1% excise duty increase on caviar!? That's the final straw - us wealthy elites can't take anymore of this austerity.
  • 12:58
    Conor "Charlie Sheen", if that's your real name, Michael ring spoke very well on this point in the media yesterday. His constituency got no more of an allocation than anyone else. Westport United has been under funded for years and this grant is the first of any substance it has received. The club performs outstandingly well for one with no official home ground and deserves this funding completely. This is coming from a Castlebar man and we would normally not let a chance to knock Westport but this is certainly not a reasonable opportunitiy to do so.
  • 12:58
    arnold where i the section where you reduce the wages and pensions of all those ******** in the goverment.... see how they fair.....
  • 13:06
    Even though this is the fifth "annual" austerity budget of seven since the economic crash, it is the sixth of eight if you are minded to include April 2009's emergency budget. I've been prevailed upon to make that clarification by my editor. He's a stickler for detail.
  • 13:20
    Approximately two dozen members of the Garda's public order unit were just spotted by a colleague on Townsend Street, behind Pearse Street Garda station. The authorities are obviously concerned about the public order risk posed by the Budget.
  • 13:26
    "Ireland's government must detail Wednesday tough spending cuts and tax increases in its budget for 2013 which could strain the public's grudging acceptance of the austerity imposed by an international bailout, as the country continues to wrestle with its worst-ever debt crisis." - Wall Street Journal
  • 13:47
    Guest Maybe the public order unit of the Gardai will jump ship after this budget when they realise how bad it'll be and assist in any protests/ plublic flogging of Government officials (said in some jest)
  • 13:48
    John Just to add to my bad feelings regarding today have just heard that the government in the last few weeks paid 1Billion for a bond redemption to a major hedge fund. The galling part is that the hedge fund had bought the bond for 250million off another Irish bond investor who got scared. Surely there would have been room to strike a deal instead of giving away more than will be raised by the property tax.
  • 13:56
    B Hughes To get over tax hikes that will effect me, I'm thinking that I have lots of free digital channels now with Saorview and Freeview - why should I fork out €35-65 to SKY every month any more?
  • 14:01
    According to Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, we’ll have 85 per cent of the work done after today. That’s one of those comments which does the opposite of what it intends. There’s a word in drama studies for it.
  • 14:21
    Just 10 minutes to go! Leaking large chunks of the budget has now become part of the process. It’s hard to know just where the surprises will be, given the amount of info already circulating.
  • 14:21
    AnotherGuest Attacking motorists yet again, adding another nail to the already nail-ridden coffin that is the Irish Motoring industry. Any garages that have managed to cling on until now, not to mention all of the fringe businesses such as small panel beating / spraying garages, are about to have their heads pushed under the water for the last time. Make some room of the dole queues for the hundreds of people working in these places...
  • 14:22
    unouno i just hope health isn't cut again!
  • 14:27
    DG How will this budget impact the property market?
  • 14:27
    Guest The public should look at the income being paid to our current ministers and their spouses including the happen monies like expense , start with our taniste and his wife
  • 14:30
    Ministers have entered the Dáil chamber. Noonan wearing a purplish tie; according to the leaks, it was meant to be blue
  • 14:32
    Here we go! Hairshirt budget number six of eight.Noonan on his feet. Usual preamble before the nitty gritty.
  • 14:34
    Noonan says there are 'manifest' signs the country is recovering from the crash. He says bailout programme is being fulfilled which is one measure of success. However, he says a real measure of success is a real and growing economy. He admits country has 'long way to go' but insists Government will not dither in its task.
  • 14:36
    Noonan says export-led economy is forging ahead but admits domestic economy is still suffering.
  • 14:41
    FF's finance spokesman Michael McGrath has just interjected, complaining it was unprecedented that the opposition had not been given the Minister's speech prior to its delivery.
  • 14:42
    Noonan has announced the introduction of a rebate on diesel for hauliers from July 1st .
  • 14:43
    On the steps of Government Buildings
    On the steps of Government Buildings
  • 14:46
  • 14:47
    Property tax exemption up to 2016 for new or previously unoccupied homes. Property tax exemption also applies to all first time buyers between 2013 and 2016
  • 14:51
    General Government deficit will be 8.2 per cent of GDP this year, Noonan says, comfortably inside the troika target of 8.6 per cent.
  • 14:52
    Private pensions, most notably bankers’ pensions, has been one of the single biggest headaches for the Government since the crash. A supertax on fat cat pensions would have been a popular move. However, the Government’s legal advice was that a specific group could not be singled out.
  • 14:54
    Noonan has opted to introduce a new cap of €60,000 on the amount of annual tax relief available for pension contributions. It is expected to generate savings of €200 million.
  • 14:54
    Noonan has just announced a three-point increase in universal social charge (USC) for those over 70 with incomes of €60,000 or more. This will bring the USC rate from 4 per cent to the 7 per cent that applies to the under 70s. This was well flagged in advance.
  • 14:57
    One of the big savings, signalled in advance, will be the reconfigured PRSI regime. Noonan says PSRI contributions are "progressive and redistributive" and favour lower-income groups. The €127 exemption on all those earning €352 a week is to be abolished. That will cost each taxpayer some €261 per annum and will yield more than €300 million to the exchequer in a full year.
  • 15:03
    Here we are! The long-anticipated property tax has finally come into being. As expected, it will be levied at a graduated scale from 0.18 per cent to 0.25 per cent depending on the value of the property. Properties worth €1 million will be liable to 0.18 per cent on first million and 0.25 per cent thereafter.

     The average householder will pay €300-€500 a year, according to most estimates. All in all, it’s expected to net the exchequer some €250 million in 2013 after it is introduced in July, and €500 million in a full year.
  • 15:03
    Noonan insists the new property tax is "fair and progressive".
  • 15:07
    No increase on excise duty on diesel or petrol but 10 cent on beer and spirits, and a whopping €1 on a bottle of wine. Expect unrest among the middle classes.
  • 15:10
    Del Property tax appears very fair despite the fact its a tax :-(
  • 15:12
    Sorry, I put up a link to lat year's speech. The Government published it again under today's date. I'll have today's ASAP.
  • 15:15
    Maternity benefit to be treated as taxable income. This is likely to prove controversial.
  • 15:17
    Howlin takes over now. He says expenditure adjustments will amount to €2.25 billion. However, he says "we have sought to be fair"
  • 15:18
    Okay. Here's the proper link to the budget statement. http://budget.gov.ie/Budgets/2013/FinancialStatement.aspx
  • 15:21
    It wouldn’t be a budget if the old reliables – booze and fags – didn’t get hit. In case you missed it: 10 cent increase for a packet of cigarettes,  10 cent increase on pint of beer and spirits, and a €1 jump in excise on wine.
  • 15:21
    Guest €1 on a bottle of wine. That brings Buckfast above a tenner. My God!
  • 15:22
    Guest That PRSI reconfiguration is dreadfully unfair. It will hardly be noticed by those on large salaries, but at the lowest threshold, those earning just 18300 annually, it is a further 1.4% of their salary
  • 15:29
    Howlin says "we are not going to slash and burn vital public services".
  • 15:31
    Howlin confirms the Government will not be reducing any primary social welfare rate in this Budget. In addition, there will be no change to the weekly fuel allowance.
  • 15:31
    In 2013, vehicles registered from January 1st will carry a year tag of 131 and 132 for the second half of the year. Noonan said this is to “incentivise a more year-round motor market”. It presumably follows intensive lobbying from the motor industry who feared superstitious buyers would hold off on their purchase in an already depressed new car market.
  • 15:36
    Prescription charges for medical card holders up from €0.50 to €1.50 per item.
  • 15:38
    Howlin also announces duration of Jobseeker’s Benefit will be reduced by three months, from 12 to nine, saving the Exchequer €33 million next year.
  • 15:40
    Ceann Comhairle berates Mattie McGrath for interrupting Howlin, saying the public would like to hear the Minister "rather than the likes of you".
  • 15:42
    Changes to TDs' expenses are on the way. There will be a 10 per cent cut in the general allowance. Howlin says all unvouched expenses for politicians will be abolished. A popular move with the electorate, no doubt.
  • 15:44
    Child benefit was a major talking point in the lead up to last year’s budget but the debate seem more muted this time round. Howlin has just announced a €10 cut per child in the allowance. No surprise, it was well flagged. It will yield the exchequer about €140 million per annum.
  • 15:48
    A €250 rise in third-level fees has also been announced.
  • 15:49
    Howlin concludes his speech by saying "there remain difficult challenges ahead but Ireland and her people will prosper again."
  • 15:51
    Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath on his feet now, claims changes to PRSI regime were deisgned to hurt middle and low income groups. "Today, you have targeted families with children with low to middle income."
  • 15:54
    McGrath calculates that average low to middle income family will lose up to €1,100 a year as result of property tax, PRSI changes etc. He claims budget is inequitable, hitting low income groups disproportionately. McGrath berates Labour for breaking pledge not to attack child benefit.
  • 15:57
    One of the most unique aspects of the Budget is the pursuit of pensioners on high incomes. Government has traditionally shied away from measures injurious to the so-called ‘grey vote’.
  • 16:01
    Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte tells RTÉ the property tax is "more modest" than many were led to believe.
  • 16:02
    "The country's still broke...people are still going to have to take a hit but the most important thing is that the Budget is fair, " Rabbitte says.
  • 16:10
    Returning to student fees. The annual student contribution charge will increase by €250 each year for the next three years. This means fees will rise from €2,250 this year to €3,000 in 2015. This will strain a lot of students and their families.
  • 16:11
    MN WTF, €1 on a botle of wine??? What did wine drinkers do to derserve that!
  • 16:11
    JarredRankle I don't even like wine. Take that Troika!
  • 16:12
    NK "Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte tells RTÉ the property tax is "more modest" than many were led to believe." Does this government truly believe that we are idiots. They spin doctor pre-budget so that such idiotic statements will sound valid and we will breathe a breath of relief. The devil is in the detail of this budget when we will see the true meaning for the low income earners, and the state pensioners
  • 16:16
    My colleague Conor Pope tweets: "2 adults and 2 kids in house worth €300k with a 4-bottle-a-week wine habit and a 1.6 litre car will be €1,352 poorer next year."
  • 16:23
    Returning to motor tax changes. The increase in motor tax for most categories of vehicles is 7.5 per cent. Flat rate increases of between €10 and €92, graduated to favour lower-emitting cars, the Government said.
  • 16:27
  • 16:30
  • 16:33
    Sinn Féin's Aengus Ó Snodaigh accuses Government of making children and young families bear the brunt of the budget. He described the package of social welfare cuts as cowardly and said they will make the basics of food, clothing and shelter unaffordable for hundreds of thousands of families.
  • 16:41
    Owen Callan, senior dealer at Danske Markets: "It's a fairly balanced budget from the market's point of view. Ireland has gotten this tag that it is willing to do whatever it takes to remain on track, even if some of the measures are unpopular. They are taking a few measures that some other countries have been unwilling to look at."
  • 16:43
    Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill
    Photographer: Dara Mac Donaill
  • 16:45
    Photographer: Eric Luke
    Photographer: Eric Luke
  • 16:48
    nationpenguin very unfair to increase the drug payment scheme to 144. there's such a disparity between the medical card holders at 19.50 and people who have to pay through the nose for everything medical that they need. I wish the government would support those on middle incomes. We're getting hammered.
  • 16:50
  • 16:50
    Dave The wine tax increase only affects you if you continue to buy your alcohol in the republic
  • 17:05
    Fianna Fáil is focusing its attack, unsurprisingly, on Labour; a tried and tested strategy of picking on the smaller coalition party. Fianna Fáil's justice and equality spokesman Niall Collins said: “We heard a lot of pre-budget huffing and puffing from Labour on budget issues and they have failed to deliver. For weeks, they talked about increasing the USC rate for those earning over €100,000. Today, instead of high paid earners being targeted, changes to PRSI actually mean a tax hike for the lowest paid."
  • 17:08
    Anti-household charge campaigners have warned they plan to launch a similar campaign against the proposed property tax. Spokesman for the Campaign Against Household & Water Taxes Gregor Kerr said the tax was a declaration of war on people. “Campaign members across the country will respond to this provocation by re-doubling and intensifying both the boycott of the property tax and protests against it and against the austerity agenda,” he said.
  • 17:17
    Retailers say Budget is unlikely to entice consumers back into shops and warn of an upsurge in cross-Border booze shopping. Retail Ireland director Stephen Lynam said: "The increase in alcohol excise may drive consumers north of the Border again as the price of beer, wine and spirits rises. The increase in tobacco excise, although smaller than last year’s, will only further encourage criminal elements to supply illicit cigarettes on the black market." However, he the decision to freeze VAT is welcome as is the decision to freeze excise duty on fuel.
  • 17:23
    Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton and Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald have jointly announced a new Budget initiative to provide for upwards of 6,000 additional after-school places targeted at children in primary school. The €14 million initiative is targeted at low-income families where the parents are availing of an employment opportunity, the ministers said.
  • 17:26
    The Irish Wine Association has described today’s decision by the Government to slap €1 on wine as "disproportionate, excessive, and absolutely contrary to their stated aim to support small businesses".
  • 17:31
    One thing we haven't touched on so far is the reduction in the back to school clothing and footwear allowance rates which will be cut from €150 to €100 (for children aged four to 11) and €250 to €200 (for children aged 12 to 17, or 18 to 22 in full-time education). An annual €300 payment made to recipients of the Back to Education Allowance will also be axed. This is likely cause significant hardship for low income families.
  • 17:34
    Here's a video stream from outside Leinster House where there is budget protest. http://www.irishtimes.com/topics/budget-2013/static/march.html
  • 17:37
    Property website MyHome.ie warns the new property tax could have destabilising affect on the property market. "Transactions so far this year have already surpassed last year’s total as the market shows some sign of recovery. However, that has been threatened by the introduction of a property tax at a rate of 0.18 per cent for properties valued up to €1 million and at a rate of 0.25 per cent for homes valued at over €1 million."
  • 17:45
    Fianna Fáil’s Willie O’Dea claims the Budget was an attack on mothers. “The slashing of child benefit, taxing of maternity benefit, failure to progress child care provision and cutbacks to the vital Back to School Allowance will be felt most of all by women,” he said.
  • 17:48
  • 17:54
    Twitter users are inflamed by the hike in excise duty on wine. Now who said the site was a middle class hangout? Best tweet goes to Sinead Kavanagh for: "It's like armageddon in Tesco wine section".
  • 18:02
    One issue which remains unclear is just how the property tax will affect the rental market. Will landlords lump the cost of the tax onto tenants in the form of higher rents. Chairman of the Irish Property Owners Association Stephen Faughnan says the tax, which will fund local services, should be collected from the people using the services under the ‘users pays principle’. He warns the situation “will inevitably result in rents having to rise, and represents another layer of of continuing unfairness”.
  • 18:15
    Sandra I am sitting here trying to write...but as a low-income family who will be directly affected by PRSI reconfiguration, child benefit cuts,reduction in school uniform allowance I am near to tears. We are not negligient with our money. We buy food, petrol, pay for electric/oil, pay car tax...and we really do struggle, just like a lot of people out there. We are lucky to have a car but we live in the middle of no-where with a limited bus service and no bus to school, so a car is essential.Though god love it, it never sees the service it desperately needs.Isn't this the reality of the Ireland of today I wish I could moan about the price of wine...but it's not an essential. But never fear, I will still contribute a smiling face to to the many tourists who come to visit .. and see where their families originally came from, .but little do they know, I understand now to my horror,why their ancestors left in the first place.Shame on this government and for the past government who have forgotten the majority of the irish population , while the businessmen/politicians continue to line their pockets
  • 18:35
    Drowned out by the brouhaha over big ticket items like the property tax, pension reliefs and, of course, that hike on wine duty are some really tough measures. Something that will be hard to stomach for many is the cut in the annual respite care grant to carers from €1,700 to a new reduced rate of €1,375. A colleague says this will have bigger impact on his family than the property tax.
  • 18:42
    Fianna Fáil's Niall Collins has condemned what he described as Minister for Justice Alan Shatter's "jaw dropping cynicism" announcing the closure of 100 Garda stations around the country during today's budget announcement.
  • 19:00
    Vincent P Martin, lawyer and founder of the New Beginning group which campaigns for debt settlement, says new property tax will “further strangle an already squeezed middle Ireland, ordinary people who are in deep negative equity, extreme mortgage distress, and who simply cannot pay”.
  • 19:00
    Guest The Government should be appalled at themselves. Targeting families with Children and particularly those who have children with special needs... Dreadful really they should hang their heads in shame. We are a middle income family with 4 kids (one with special needs) and negative equity, they might as well just put us a picture of us up in the Dail and say you are the target !
  • 19:14
    Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton at a press conference on Budget 2013 at Government Buildings this evening.
    Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton at a press conference on Budget 2013 at Government Buildings this evening.
  • 19:17
    Simon Not a bad budget for PAYE workers as a lot of the adjustment seems to be on wealth and on wealthy pensioners. Saying that everyone is being hit because everyone must contribute to the recovery. Seems fair to me.
  • 19:25
    Minister of State for Mental Health Kathleen Lynch earlier announced additional €35 million for the continued roll-out of community-based mental health services. “This funding is a demonstration of this Government’s commitment to protect the most vulnerable,” she said. However, Des Kavanagh of the Psychiatric Nurses Association cautioned: “This money must be ring-fenced and reinvested into the development of mental health services through the replacement of community mental health nursing posts."

  • 19:33
    Noonan today also extended for another year the 9 per cent lower VAT rate for the tourism-related products and services. Welcoming the move, Fine Gael Senator Catherine Noone said: “2013 is just ahead of us, when we will see The Gathering swing into full force, starting with a series of celebrations on New Year’s Eve. The lower VAT rate should have a positive impact on the success of The Gathering by ensuring tourists get the best possible value for money.
  • 19:39
    Shoppers throng the wine section of a Tesco supermarket in Artane in Dublin this evening. Photograph: Elaine Edwards
    Shoppers throng the wine section of a Tesco supermarket in Artane in Dublin this evening. Photograph: Elaine Edwards
  • 19:45
    Protesters are removed from Kildare St entrance to Dáil after attempting to block it during protests following the Budget. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/Irish Times
    Protesters are removed from Kildare St entrance to Dáil after attempting to block it during protests following the Budget. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/Irish Times
  • 19:53
    My colleague Genevieve Carbery writes: "Here is a calculation showing how the PRSI allowance heavily impacts on lower paid workers over the well-paid. Employees earning €25,000 per year will see their PRSI payments increase by 36 per cent (€264.16) while employees earning €175,000 per year will see their PRSI payments increase by 3.9 per cent (€264.16). This is calculated from Department of Finance figures. A single person on €25,000 will see PRSI go from €736 to €1000 while someone on €175,000 will see PRSI go from €6736 to €7,000 (up 3.9%)."
  • 20:25
    Unsurprisingly, much of the post-Budget analysis centres on the things that affect most people; the property tax, PRSI changes, the cut to child benefit, increased duties on alcohol.

    Because the Government was stuck on not touching income tax or social welfare rates, it left itself little room for manoeuvre. It’s an ideology that’s even raised eyebrows within the troika. As a result, we’ve got multiple adjustments to a range allowances and grants as well as a hike in student fees. It’s astonishing to think this is only the sixth episode of an 8-budget series.
  • 20:31
    Thanks again to everyone who contributed today. That concludes our live blog coverage of Budget 2013.