Budget 2012

Budget 2012

IT Mon, Dec 5

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  • 11:44
    Hello and welcome to the irishtimes.com live blog on Budget 2012. Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin will this afternoon outline planned cuts in public spending, while Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is to set out taxation changes tomorrow when he delivers the traditional Budget Day speech.

    We'll be covering Budget 2012 as and when it happens on the blog and welcome all your comments. Irishtimes.com will have a livefeed from the Dáil as Mr Howlin and Mr Noonan outline announce their plans over the next two days and will also have video and indepth analysis and reaction. We'll also be covering the Budget on twitter via @IrishTimesBiz

    The Government is planning a €3.8 billion adjustment in the Budget as it tries to bridge an €18 billion hole in the public finances and in last night's 'State of the Nation' address, Taoiseach Enda Kenny gave a hint of what we can expect.

    Speaking from his office in Government Buildings, the Fine Gael leader said the Irish people were not responsible for the economic crisis, but added that the economy remained fragile and a “tough” budget was in prospect.

    Here's the full text of Mr Kenny's speech


    And here's our report on his speech http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/breaking/2011/1205/breaking2.html
  • 11:48
  • 11:50
    What did Miriam Lord make of Enda's address last night? Read her take on the Taoiseach's performance here: http://tiny.cc/p2bp9
  • 11:52
    As Miriam Lord points out in her report on Enda's speech he did have on an awfully nice tie...
    As Miriam Lord points out in her report on Enda's speech he did have on an awfully nice tie...
  • 11:57
    Perhaps not surprisingly, Opposition parties were unimpressed with Mr Kenny's speech with Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams describing it as "a missed opportunity" and Fianna Fail's justice spokesman Dara Calleary saying it set out nothing new of substance.

    Here's 'Irish Times' journalist Michael O'Regan's piece on reaction to the address http://tiny.cc/nmhv7
  • 12:03
    So what can we expect from Budget 2012? We've already been warned it will be harsh and many details have already become known but will it really be that bad?

    Here's political correspondent Harry McGee's analysis piece from today's paper: http://tiny.cc/themj
  • 12:10
    TV3 News finance correspondent Brian O'Donovan has just tweeted this interesting little titbit about Mr Howlin's Budget document...

    "I'm told Brendan Howlin's budget document is 219 pages long. Thankfully his Dail speech is shorter - it's expected to last 30 mins."
  • 12:23
    It's not just Opposition parties who had something to say about last night's State of the Nation address. We asked some leading commentators to give their verdict. See what they thought here: http://tiny.cc/lbehe
  • 12:37
    The Taoiseach's speech was reported far and wide...here's some of the coverage the address received:

    Ireland's Enda Kenny warns of need for more austerity (Daily Telegraph) http://tiny.cc/8un8e

    Irish economy remains fragile, warns Taoiseach Enda Kenny (BBC) http://tiny.cc/5ei1l

    Ireland's PM Kenny Urges Nation To Support Tough Budget Cuts (Wall Street Journal) http://tiny.cc/fyk3r

    Enda Kenny 'optimistic' for Irish recovery (Guardian) http://tiny.cc/ch0fj
  • 12:52
    Enda Kenny's 'State of the Nation' address had an average audience of 1,199,000 or 60 per cent share, according to RTÉ. The audience peaked at 1,231,320 at 9.39 pm.
  • 13:04
    French president Nicolas Sarkozy and German chancellor Angela Merkel are currently meeting in Paris in a bid to resolve the ongoing euro zone crisis. There's increasing optimism that some sort of agreement can be reached and major European markets are up as a result. At 1pm, the FTSE 100 was up 0.74 per cent while the German Dax and French CAC 40 were up 0.99 per cent and 1.42 per cent respectively. Here in Dublin, the Iseq is up 36.88 points to 2757.47
  • 13:12
    Here's the wonderfully -dubbed 'Merkozy' pictured ahead of their working lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris a short time ago
    Here's the wonderfully -dubbed 'Merkozy' pictured ahead of their working lunch at the Elysee Palace in Paris a short time ago
  • 13:40
    TV3 has invited the leaders of the opposition to respond to Mr Kenny's national address by the Taoiseach last night.

    The leaders of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin and the technical group of independent TD’s will be given the opportunity to make an un-interrupted 3 minute broadcast to the nation on Wednesday's 'Tonight with Vincent Browne' programme following which the three speakers will be invited to participate in a post-budget debate.

    RTÉ is allowing opposition leaders broadcast time this evening with Independent Donegal TD Thomas Pringle speaking on behalf of the 16-member technical group after his name was pulled from a hat.
  • 13:51
    My colleague John Collins has been busy collating predictions from financial analysts Here's what the experts are forecasting for Budget 2012 http://tiny.cc/yj2bm
  • 13:55
    Was Enda Kenny's State of the Nation speech little more than a party political broadcast masquerading as a non-partisan address to the nation.? Read Harry McGee's blogpost here: http://tiny.cc/jl3l4
  • 14:02
    Mr Howlin's Dáil speech is set to begin in 30 minutes. Follow it live on our Budget website http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/budget2012/
  • 14:15
    Best Budget-related tweet of the day so far goes to Ronan French (@chipsticks) who just tweeted the following:

    "Not a good sign when you try to Sky+ the budget and it prompts you to 'record once or record series?'"
  • 14:23
    As has happened many times before the main points of the Budget have been leaked ahead of time to the 'Evening Herald'.

    Here's what the newspaper claims is in Budget 2012 (kindly collated by my colleague John Collins)

    *Child benefit cut to the standard rate of €140 across the board (a family with four children loses €768 a year)

    *The €200 back to school allowance scrapped

    *40 Garda stations to be closed, mostly in Dublin area

    *€500-600 million in social welfare cuts

    *College registration fees rising €250 to €2,250

    *Fuel allowance only available for 26 weeks

    *A household charge of €100 will be introduced raising €160 million

    *Standard unemployment and pension payments unchanged

    *Cuts to education budgets of €200 million
  • 14:32
    TDs are beginning to take their seats and we'll be starting shortly...
  • 14:34
    And we're off...Mr Howlin is up on his feet
  • 14:34
    Howlin begins by paying tribute to former minister for finance Brian Lenihan, who died earlier this year
  • 14:35
    "Public anger is acute because the public is not responsible for the position we're in" - Howlin
  • 14:36
    "Our country has suffered the greatest economic crisis in living memory" - Howlin
  • 14:38
    "We don't have the revenues to support all the services we want" - Howlin
  • 14:39
    Tax revenue fell by 1/3 between 2007 and 2010, according to Mr Howlin
  • 14:39
    "In a recession the Government is a spender of last resort" - Howlin
  • 14:42
    "Government spending must fall until 2015"- Howlin
  • 14:42
    State pensions cost €3.7bn in 2007, but €4.7bn this year - Howlin
  • 14:44
    Howlin says Government's main priority is jobs : "We need to keep people working and help others get back to work"
  • 14:44
    Howlin says healthcare, education and social preotection make up 80 per cent of government spending. They cannot all be protected.
  • 14:46
    Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin delivering his speech outlining Government spending plans for 2012
    Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin delivering his speech outlining Government spending plans for 2012
  • 14:47
    Howlin announces new €20million labour market activity fund targeting long term unemployment
  • 14:48
    "We must ensure that the burden of recovery is shared fairly and that the most vulnerable in our society are protected as far as possible" - Howlin
  • 14:49
    Limited targeted recruitment into public service next year - Howlin
  • 14:50
    Michael O Connor Minister Howlin stated twelve months age Ireland was Europes problem he should have finished the sentence with today Europe is Irelands problem
  • 14:50
    "The Croke Park Agreement simply has to deliver. We have made a good start but we have a long way to travel yet - Howlin
  • 14:51
    "No further cuts for ordinary public service pensioners are proposed" - Howlin
  • 14:51
    No reduction in social welfare payments

    €400million cut in public service pay bill next year
  • 14:53
    "The level of social welfare expenditure now in place cannot be sustained from the fundnig base now available" - Howlin
  • 14:53
    No reduction in standard rate of child benefit
  • 14:54
    Fuel allowance season reduced by six weeks from 32 to 26 weeks
  • 14:55
    "I am allocating €13,644 million for Health in 2012", 26 per cent of current expenditure
  • 14:56
    Rates of payment for child benefit to be standardised - will lead to a saving of €43 million next year

    Payment week for jobseekers' benefit changed to five-day week rather than the existing six-day week - will lead to a saving of €5.9 million next year.
  • 14:57
    An additional €50million for mental health and access to GP care announced
  • 14:58
    €543million in net savings in the health area announced

    "Education expenditure... will comprise around 17 per cent, or €8,604 million, of all current expenditure next year"
  • 14:59
    Increased contribution from 3rd-level students of €250 for college registration fees - will secure savings of €18.5 million
  • 14:59
    "A reduction in capitation grants to schools by 2 per cent will make savings of €7 million"
  • 15:01
    Drug Payment Scheme threshold increased by €12 from €120 to €132
  • 15:02
    Education expenditure to amount to 17 per cent of total spending next year with €132million in savings in the Budget
  • 15:02
    Government spending next year will amount to €55.8 billion, down from €57.7 billion in 2011
  • 15:03
    Michael O Connor Minister Howlin refers to the Croke Park Agreement WE have made a good start but a long way to travel. He is obviously refering to the people not covered by the C P Agreement they will have a long way to travel (emigration).
  • 15:04
    "We will not resolve our problems overnight"
  • 15:05
    "Ireland's traditional system of budgeting is not working - annual estimates to be replaced by 3-year plan"
  • 15:06
    Mr Howlin's speech has now finished...
  • 15:07
    A 2 per cent reduction in core funding for higher education to secure savings of €23.6million
  • 15:08
    Fianna Fáil's spokesman on Public Expenditure Seán Fleming is now speaking...
  • 15:10
    Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton left the chamber just as the opposition was given the opportunity to speak - Séan Fleming suggests this is because she "can't face the music"
  • 15:10
    Fleming accuses Government of protecting 'well paid friends and cronies"
  • 15:11
    Measures in social protection, health and education announced in today's Budget will yield savings of over €1billion in 2012
  • 15:14
    Budget 2012 announcements:

    Changes to the one-parent family payment will save €20.7million

    Local and community development programme reduced by €8million.

    Garda budget cuts to to save a total of €79 million

    Mergers in education to save €132.3million

  • 15:17
    Department of Agriculture, Marine & Food budget cut by €105 million; Dept of Transport, Tourism and Sport cut by €45m; and Dept of Environment, Comm & Local Government cut by €34m
  • 15:19
    Minister Howlin's full speech is now available here: bit.ly/rYcN8e
  • 15:20
    And here are all the cuts, in all their gory detail bit.ly/vKcwAU (in PDF format) #Budget12
  • 15:22
    The Twitter hashtag #Budget2012 is now trending worldwide...quite what people in other countries make of the Budget is currently unknown though!
  • 15:26
    Fianna Fail's Sean Fleming pictured commenting on Mr Howlin's speech in the Dáil this afternoon
    Fianna Fail's Sean Fleming pictured commenting on Mr Howlin's speech in the Dáil this afternoon
  • 15:31
    Séan Flemming is getting some good digs in still. He's just accused the Government of having "deceived the students and parents of Ireland" by increasing the college registration fee.
  • 15:32
    Michael O Connor Overall "A howler by Brendan"
  • 15:40
    Here's a quick round-up of some of the other changes announced today:

    A household charge of €100 per house is to be introduced from January 1st in a move which will raise €160million

    Reduction in capitation grants to schools by 2 per cent will make savings of €7 million

    The charge for primary school transport is to be doubled, from €50 to €100.

    Overseas Development Aid is to be cut by €52.9 million

    Efficiencies in procurement by the health sector will save €50 million

    There will be a €19 million cut to the Rural Environmental Protection Scheme

    Govt to improve the generation and collection of private income in public hospitals to save €143 million

    Increasing minimum contributions and reviewing rent limits will yield savings of €55 million in rent supplement
  • 15:46
    Minister for Social Protection Joan Bruton pictured at a press conference where she has been outlining cuts to her department
    Minister for Social Protection Joan Bruton pictured at a press conference where she has been outlining cuts to her department
  • 15:49
    Joan Burton has said that the minimum contribution to rent or mortgage interest supplement will be increased by €6 a week for a single person and €12 a week for a couple. Also confirmed that child benefit remains unchanged for the first and second child.
  • 15:52
    Sinn Fein's deputy leader Mary Lou McDonald's take on Budget 2012? "You've chosen to protect those on sky-high wages and pensions in the public sector"
  • 15:54
    Overall, the Department of Social Protection's budget is being cut by €475 million while there will be a €543 million cut in the Department of Health's budget.
  • 15:57
    Brendan Howlin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny settle down for a bit of light reading in the Dáil this afternoon
    Brendan Howlin and Taoiseach Enda Kenny settle down for a bit of light reading in the Dáil this afternoon
  • 15:59
    More Budget 2012 changes announced today:

    New post-graduate students won’t get a maintenance grant even if they qualify for a fees grant.

    Disability allowance is being cut by 46 per cent for those aged under 20 and by 23 per cent for those aged under 24.

    Changes to the redundancy and insolvency scheme to reduce the employer rebate from 60 per cent to 15 per cent.
  • 16:00
    Text from the Dail statement given by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin today outlining the Government's spending plan for 2012
    Text from the Dail statement given by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin today outlining the Government's spending plan for 2012
  • 16:04
    'Irish Times' consumer affairs correspondent Conor Pope has has been taking a look at the impact of today's Budget 2012 announcements. Read his report here: http://tiny.cc/8jnyq
  • 16:11
    Siptu response to the first part of the Budget: "Budget 2012 will not work for the country or communities. Again the burden is being placed no those can least afford it."

    Elsewhere, Unite has condemned what it described as an "anti Jobs" budget.

    Its national co-ordinator Walter Cullen said at least 15,000 potential jobs will be go as a result of today's announcements.

    “Everybody recognises that job creation is the only way to grow our way out of the current economic quicksand.

    “This government says it is central to all their plans yet everything they do is in direct conflict with the need to get people back to work.”
  • 16:18
    Responding to the first part of Budget 2012, the Construction Industry Federation (CIF) has said the Government's "destruction of the Public Capital Programme" will put up to 25,000 jobs at risk.

    CIF’s director general Tom Parlon accused the Government of engaging in ‘nonsense economics’, reneging on Programme for Government jobs promises, and destroying the credibility of the country’s infrastructure development programme.

    "The approach being adopted is self defeating. Cutting capital investment leads to further job losses, reduced taxes and reduced spending in the economy, which will more than outweigh the identified ‘savings’ from not going ahead with school building, public transportation and energy projects. It is nonsense economics,” he said.
  • 16:22
    Minister for Health Dr James Reilly is now holding a press conference covering changes at his department.
    Minister for Health Dr James Reilly is now holding a press conference covering changes at his department.
  • 16:24
    In further reaction, Mental Health Reform has welcomed the commitment to invest €35 million to develop community mental health services but warned that the money could be lost without the appointment of a Directorate of Mental Health Services.

    "We are concerned that the money invested in community mental health services today, could get lost within the HSE unless a person with budgetary authority and full accountability, a National Director for Mental Health Services, is put in place now”, stressed Orla Barry, director of the umbrella group.

    “It is crucial that this additional money is used to develop community mental health services and protected in such a way that it cannot be used for anything but the development of community mental health teams to provide a range of supports to enable recovery as outlined in Government policy”, she added.
  • 16:27
    'Irish Times' industry correspondent Martin Wall has been interviewed about how the Budget will affect healthcare. Watch the clip here: http://tiny.cc/wkzyx
  • 16:31
    Ouch! United Left Alliance TD Clare Daly's response to the first part of the Budget? "We now know that Minister Howlin is an equal opportunities butcher."
  • 16:38
    And more from Clare Daly on Mr Howlin's speech...."James Connolly would be turning in his grave"
  • 16:39
    The increase in college registration fees, the cut to the Overseas Development Aid, the fuel allowance reduction and the cut in payments to young people with disabilities are among the most talked about parts of Budget 2012 on Twitter currently
  • 16:42
    Here's Laura Slattery and Luke Cassidy's news piece outlining reaction to the redundancy rebate cut: http://tiny.cc/ydzkj
  • 16:43
    And here's the response of Fianna Fáil to the fuel allowance cut announced today http://tiny.cc/mnmfk
  • 16:56
    Budget reaction: Business group Ibec said while there is an inescapable need for reductions in public spending, the adjustments could have been made in a manner which would have been less damaging to growth and jobs.

    "The expenditure reduction in 2012 is overly reliant on cuts to public capital investment. Not enough will be delivered through greater efficiency in day-to-day spending," said its director general Danny McCoy.

    Think-tank Tasc said the package of measures announced today, together with the taxation measures which have already been flagged and are due to be announced tomorrow, , "will further reduce demand and put yet more jobs at risk."

    "The evidence suggests the Government’s decision to emphasise capital spending cuts in this budget will be particularly damaging to job creation," it said.

    Dublin Chamber of Commerce welcomed the introduction of the €100 household charge but said it was concerned that the funds would not be retained by the local authority in which it had been raised.

    “We believe the household charge must be clearly allied to local services received by the payers of it and not go into a central Government slush fund. Taxes raised locally must be used to pay for local services provided by the local authority," said the organisation's chief executive Gina Quin.
  • 17:00
    During his press conference this afternoon Minister for Health Dr James Reilly admitted that patient services will be affected next year and said some nursing home units would have to close.
  • 17:13
    Here's some more Budget 2012 reaction as community groups have their say on today's announcements: http://tiny.cc/344xi
  • 17:18
    Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin pictured at a press conference a few minutes ago.
    Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin pictured at a press conference a few minutes ago.
  • 17:24
    The cut in the fuel allowance is not going down well at all. Age Action has become the latest organisation to criticise the decision to reduce it.

    Spokesman Eamon Timmins said fuel poverty continues to be a major problem for vulnerable older people in Ireland.

    “To cut the fuel allowance by more than 20 per cent is going to create huge hardship among the most vulnerable of older people.”

    Age Action was also critical of the new €100 household charge and the increased threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme. It welcomed the fact that there was no cut to the State pension.
  • 17:42
    Housing charity Threshold had expressed disappointment with the changes announced to the Rent Supplement in today’s Budget

    the Department of Social Protection is imposing a 25 per cent increase on the contribution single tenants make towards their rent, rising from the existing weekly contribution of €24 to €30 per week.

    “For people who are dependent on social welfare, this is a huge increase and one they can ill afford. It will impact directly on their capacity to purchase essential goods and services, such as heating, clothing and food,” said Threshold director Bob Jordan.
  • 17:44
    Our Dáil correspondents Marie O'Halloran and Michael O'Regan have sent in an overview on political reaction to today's Budget. Read it here: http://tiny.cc/1imy7
  • 17:46
    Minister Frances Fitzgerald has confirmed that €3million is to be provided for the holding of the Children’s Rights Referendum next year.
  • 17:51
    VHI has warned this evening that premiums could rise by 50 per cent or more because of proposed changes in charges for private beds in public hospitals outlined today.

    "This change, if progressed, will have a profound impact on the private health insurance market and put further pressure on the public system. The evidence suggests that the insured population simply cannot afford such an increase and we have no doubt that this will hasten the fall in number of those choosing private health insurance, ultimately increasing the burden on the public health system at a time when it is already under pressure to meet its growing demands," said chief executive Declan Moran in a statement.

    “Vhi Healthcare now needs to consider its position and to decide whether we continue to provide cover for all public hospitals in the future in light of this proposed change," he added.
  • 17:53
    Watch 'Irish Times' political correspondent Paul Cullen explain how the 36 social welfare cuts in the budget might affect Irish citizens: http://tiny.cc/w3hst
  • 17:55
    The National Youth Council of Ireland has expressed disappointment with the announcements in relation to education, training and support for young people.

    “Supporting children and young people to remain in education and training and supporting them into work should have been a priority in the budget, instead, many of the changes are regressive and will damage the education, training and job prospects of the most disadvantaged young people,” said James Doorley, the council's assistant director.

    “We need to keep children and young people in education. Research shows that it costs €400 to send a child back to school, so the cut in Back to School Allowance from €305 to €250 for secondary students and from €200 to €150 for primary students will create hardship for many families,” he added.

    “Likewise, we need to be encouraging young people not currently in education or training to take up opportunities. Instead, Government is slashing support to those most at risk of falling through the cracks with massive cuts meaning a reduction in allowances to 16 and 17 year olds in Youthreach and FAS schemes to just €40 per week from €76 and €95 respectively.”
  • 18:01
    The Garda Representative Association has voiced its opposition to the closure of 31 Garda stations and reduced opening hours for a further 10.

    The organisation described the move as "a solemn development in the structure of how An Garda Síochána polices this country."

    “There is a palpable fear of crime in both the urban and rural areas, and the presence of the local gardaí is vital to protect the vulnerable and reassure the public. The closure of garda stations is not going to save a huge amount of money. Can we no longer afford to have a small building designated as a garda station? Is this how far we have come as a nation?," said GRA president Damien McCarthy.
  • 18:16
    Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has issued a statement regarding station closures in which he reiterated An Garda Siochana's commitment "to providing a professional and effective policing service within the prevailing economic conditions."

    "There is a challenge there for us in managing public expectations and explaining that while a policing service may not always be provided in the same way as it was in the past, it is no less effective and our commitment to the community is not diminished," he said.

    "We can never over emphasise the importance of our partnership with the community in preventing and detecting crime and maintaining a safe environment for everyone. Our pledge is to continue to invest time and energy in those partnerships and relationships to the benefit of all,” he added.
  • 18:21
    The Irish Dental Association has said that the 2 per cent reduction in HSE spending at a time when the number of medical card holders has increased by 500,000 will mean thousands of card holders will now be denied proper dental care.

    ‘These are savage cuts and clearly show the Government has abandoned its pre-election promise to prioritise prevention in dental care. We will be paying for this decision well beyond the four-year plan outlined by the Taoiseach on Sunday night," said chief executive Fintan Hourihan.
  • 18:23
    Here's an overview of reaction to health service cuts announced today: http://tiny.cc/0mk3m
  • 18:24
    'Irish Times' education editor Sean Flynn has just filed the following article on cuts in the sector: http://tiny.cc/zxhyp
  • 18:30
    Anyone remember the Green Party? Leader Eamon Ryan has said the across the board Budget cuts announced today "shows up a lack of strategic thinking."

    "By hitting every sector rather than protecting certain services or spending money in a smarter way, the Government has shown they lack the strategic thinking we will need to get through this crisis."

    "In similar circumstances the Green Party did protect spending in areas such as education and in fighting fuel poverty. Those areas are now facing significant cuts which shows up the lack of long term or Green thinking in this budget," he added.
  • 18:40
    The INOU has welcomed the decision to maintain the basic rate of social welfare payments and the announcement of funding for the Labour Market Activation fund. However, it said the Government had missed an opportunity to invest in unemployed people’s future.
  • 19:03
  • 19:05
    We're finishing up on the liveblog now but will continue to offer Budget updates throughout the evening on the website.

    The irishtimes liveblog will be back tomorrow for Day 2 of Budget 2012 when Minister for Finance Michael Noonan is to outline taxation changes. We'll also have analysis, video and more.

    Thanks for following us during the day and good evening.
  • 10:09
    We're kicking off the day with a question and answer session with Irish Times personal finance writers and experts from pwc.
  • 10:10
    A lot of questions coming in regarding the cuts in child benefit.
  • 10:11
    If you have any questions, you can put them to the panel here
  • 10:41
    Mike from Longford wants to know how the budget will affect his finances - he has twin girls.  http://bit.ly/uspVy9
  • 10:43
    There are a few queries about how the changes to child benefit affect families with multiple births. The main changes seem to affect grant for those born after January 1st 2012.
  • 10:59
    The household charge is causing some concern, especially for renters and those who own more than one property and are already paying the €200 second home charge
  • 11:05
    E Ryan from Dublin poses that question http://bit.ly/u5a7i5
  • 11:05
    Any questions you're asking here are being passed on to our panel and can be viewed at http://www.irishtimes.com/asktheexperts.

    You can also comment on the answers given by the panel.
  • 11:16
    The changes to redundancy rebates are causing a lot of concern too.
  • 11:22
    Karl closed his small business earlier int he year https://bitly.com/ while Conor has a similar question regarding programmes already in place http://bit.ly/uBGzjk
  • 11:36
    With regards to the household charge, the general thinking is that the landlord has to pay it, rather than the renter. It's levied on owners not occupiers. However, this doesn't mean the landlord won't find a way to pass it on, and this will be determined by the conditions of your lease.
  • 11:53
    Katriona In the UK, council tax is levied on landlords but it is always passed onto the occupiers, also in the UK failure to pay the council tax can mean a visit by the bailiffs.
  • 11:53
    Andrew McCarthy I pay a second property tax of £200 pa for the home that I was born in and own in Ireland. I live much of the year in the UK.
  • 11:54
    Mr C "The household charge is causing some concern, especially for renters and those who own more than one property and are already paying the €200 second home charge" is this not a stupid statement, surely the people who can afford 2 homes should be taxed more than the rest, have we not yet realised that owning 2 homes puts you in the wealthy category......
  • 11:54
    Guest We have just arrived back in Ireland after a working life abroad...now retired. Therefore we were not au fait with all the allowances people were entitled to here in Ireland. We are stunned to say the least. Cannot fathom the amount of money people feel they are entitled to because they have had children. Sure there must be cases where families are in deep trouble and need help...but surely that is what the benefits are all about. But to feel hard done by to have a cut in what we consider a huge amount dished out each month ,particularly to people who have made the choice to have four or more children. Also living in France we paid over 3000E a year on household charges and think 100 here in Ireland is very cheap. People here were spoiled and now need to get real and face reality. By the way, we are not rich...just worked , like a lot of people, to have a pension which would keep us if not in style at least in comfort. We immediately signed up with the tax people as soon as we arrived. If you want to live in your own country then this is what you have to do. Everyone must pay their way and not think that the country owes them a living. I do feel immensly sorry for those who have lost their jobs...but thats what the social security is there for. Help people who need it and not give it as a right just because you pop out too many children for you to afford. Right now...we need jobs created....health system running efficiently, and schooling a right for everyone.
  • 12:19
    Alan The €200 is not a second home charge it is a charge on a non principal residence so you can still be liable to the charge if you own one property and don't live in it as your main residence
  • 12:29
    Andrew With regard the household charge will people in estates that have been unfinished (builder gone bust and council fighting with receivers and incurance company over the bond) and not taken over by the local authority have to pay it.
  • 12:30
    Mr. S Surely there is no such thing as a single parent family, unless one has passed on, where are all these fathers or mothers who expect the State to carry the entire burden of their household financely and otherwise
  • 12:31
    Some concern about the lone parents allowance being cut. http://bit.ly/sv3gRF
  • 12:44
    Sunshine "Owning" two homes does not necessarily put all in the wealthy category. Having rented all my life, in my early 50s I bought one apartment hoping it would be my pension. It has been deemed uninhabitable due to mould and excessive condensation and is currently vacant and I am in arrears with the mortgage. I bought a second apartment planning perhaps to retire in it whenever I return to Ireland. It is let but the rent does not cover the mortgage. I will probably lose both properties and have already lost my own investment and am on the verge of bankruptcy.
  • 12:47
    Our panel is finishing up for today now - any questions relating to taxation and PRSI will be answered in tomorrow's session, taking into account what the Minister for Finance announces this afternoon.
  • 12:48
    In the meantime, we'll be continuing this live blog throughout the day, with Charlie Taylor taking over later this afternoon.
  • 12:58
    Liz Who would want to start their own small business when those of us who put our life's savings into doing so are punished at every turn by red tape and now this redundancy rebate reduction. We are unpaid tax collectors for the state.
  • 13:02
    Good afternoon. We're now just a few hours away from the second leg of Budget 2012 when Minister for Finance Michael Noonan will outline how he intends to raise an additional €1.6 billion in tax revenue.

    Irishtimes.com will be streaming the Minister's speech to the Dáil at 3.45pm and we'll also be livetweeting it via @irishtimesbiz.

    Stay with us for the best in news and analysis from the IT newsroom and please feel free to send us your comments on how Budget 2012 will impact on you.
  • 13:07
    Laura There is no clear thinking behind the household charge. A "household" is a group of people living together, generating waste, using water, using local amenities etc. A "household" should pay their own household charge, irrespective of whether they are renting..... many landlords already pay management fees for their tenants, as well as the NPPR tax. Putting a "household" charge on top of the NPPR is a tax on a tax. If a "household" is empty, will the tax still fall due? An unoccupied house generates no waste, uses no water, etc. Tenants/Renters need to stop expecting a free ride on charges for services.
  • 13:09
    Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin yesterday unveiled cuts of €1.4 billion across a range of State services.

    Here's a recap of the main cuts announced:


    Saving: €43m

    Reduction in benefit for third and subsequent children to standard rate of €140 a month


    Saving: €51m

    Availability of scheme cut from 32 to 26 weeks


    Saving: €55m

    Overhaul of scheme


    Saving: €5.9m

    Changes to eligibility for part-time workers


    Saving: €12m

    Increase in the monthly threshold from €120 to €132


    Saving: €143m

    Big rise in premiums to follow new charging arrangements for use of private beds in public hospitals


    €100 per home


    Fees increase by €250

    GARDA €79m

    Cuts to overall budget, including closure of 31 stations


    Primary school bus charges doubled from €50 to €100
  • 13:15
    Here's our lead story on yesterday's Budget announcement by political editor Stephen Collins http://bit.ly/seIkDV
  • 13:20
    Martin Ruane Biggest losers are workers put on a short working week. They are down 20% on welfare payment.
  • 13:20
    Guest what about landlords who have very little debt yet pocket tenants monies and pay no or very little tax?
  • 13:23
    Our editorial today was somewhat scathing about the first phase of the budget, describing it as having "the consistency of a lukewarm bath." Read the piece here: http://bit.ly/sY0hPk
  • 13:28
    RTÉ has just informed us that it will be holding its traditional live post-budget phone-in on the 'Today with Pat Kenny' show tomorrow morning. Members of the public will have the opportunity to put their questions directly to Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin. Expect plenty of fireworks...
  • 13:40
    Once again Ireland is making headlines around the world. Here's some of the coverage from overseas:

    In Ireland, austerity is praised but painful (New York Times) http://nyti.ms/tTJiOh

    Ireland announces €2.2bn of spending cuts (Channel News Asia) http://bit.ly/vrOJf4

    Heroic Ireland can do no more, it is up to Europe now (Daily Telegraph) http://tgr.ph/udi9BH

    Ireland splits 2012 austerity pain in two-day budget (Wall Street Journal) http://on.wsj.com/snyFGG
  • 13:45
    Geoff Scargill Will the PRSI be on net or gross rental income? If gross it will be taxing on money landlords haven't got!?
  • 13:54
    Laura @Guest, "Landlords who pocket tenants monies?" Do you mean landlords who charge rent for occupancy of a dwelling that they own? Do you think landlords should allow tenants to occupy their properties for free? Landlords in Ireland aren't the absentee British any longer, yet they are still treated with vtiriol. Not all landlords are bad. I fail to see why a landlord should pay a household charge if a household charge goes to local authorities for services and they are already paying NPPR. As a tenant in England, I paid my own council tax. Only Ireland would come up with a system where landlords are expected to pay charges collected by local authorities and councils.
  • 13:54
    The 'Evening Herald' has again published its predictions for the Budget. As my colleague John Collins notes on our Business blog http://bit.ly/rrc0tr, they weren't entirely accurate with their forecast yesterday.

    Here’s the 'Herald' predictions for today:

    2 percentage point increase in VAT

    PRSI to cover rental income

    5-10 per cent hike in motor tax

    Unspecified increase in Dirt tax on savings

    €100 household charge

    Carbon tax increase on petrol, diesel and heating oil
  • 14:19
    Need to make some money fast in order to cope with the impact of Budget 2012 on your finances? Bookies Paddy Power is taking bets on what will be the first cliché Minister for Finance Michael Noonan utters during his Dáil speech later today. Among the phrases you can opt for are 'blood, sweat and tears' at 40/1 'Pull our socks up' at 80/1 and 'sacrifice'at 20/1.
  • 14:28
    Dan 2nd House - the rent i receive just covers the interest €650 p/month, i subsidise the Mortg repaymt from wages by €400 p/mth - house purchased 2007 in neg. equity - how could the law stand over a PRSI tax on income that does not exist, Gov got the stamp duty on a neg. equity house, am paying €200 tax non-PPR, am paying the waste collection as tenents will not and house had vermin, cost me €2000 12 months ago re change of tenent decor/repair - one cannot be taxed/prsi'd on zero income. Surely !!??
  • 14:29
    Wondering how the Budget will affect your family? Here's Consumer Affairs correspondent Conor Pope discussing the impact of yesterday's announcement: http://bit.ly/swGXKy
  • 15:13
    The decision to reduce payments for young people with disabilities looks like being the real talking point of Budget 2012. Judging by the reaction of 'Liveline' callers and Twitter users there is real anger over the move.

    In the Dáil earlier today, Taoiseach Enda Kenny rejected a claim by Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin that the Budget represented a “direct smash and grab’’ from the most vulnerable in our society. Read our Dáil report here: http://bit.ly/vxxUvz
  • 15:15
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan pictured at Government Buildings earlier today. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan pictured at Government Buildings earlier today. Photograph: Eric Luke/Irish Times
  • 15:16
    We're now just 30 minutes away from Michael Noonan's speech...
  • 15:30
    Karl @Dan: you are getting €650 per month income from your second house. The fact that you had to borrow money to buy the house is your problem. The fact you did this in 2007 and are in negative equity is your problem. Investment properties are not any different and should not be treated any differently to any other investment.
  • 15:45
    Protestors from the Peoples Movement dressed as German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy outside Leinster House in Dublin ahead of this afternoon's Budget 2012 speech. Photograph: PA
    Protestors from the Peoples Movement dressed as German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Nicolas Sarkozy outside Leinster House in Dublin ahead of this afternoon's Budget 2012 speech. Photograph: PA
  • 15:46
    David B The PRSI on rental income will be charged on the rental profit, as is currently the case with self-employed people. It won't be charged on the gross rent received.
  • 15:46
    And we're off...
  • 15:48
    Mr Noonan begins by noting how on this day 90 years ago, the Treaty was signed which restored Ireland's sovereignty.
  • 15:48
    "The task of this Government is to regain control over Ireland's fiscal and economic policies"
  • 15:49
    "We have restored political stablility...and restored Ireland's reputation abroad"
  • 15:51
    "All serious international commentators now believe Ireland's long-term position is sustainable"
  • 15:51
    Noonan says no change to Corporation Tax Rate
  • 15:53
    Noonan announces foreign earnings deduction for people who invest in the BRICS countries
  • 15:55
    Special Assignee Relief Programmeto allow companies hire executives from overseas also announced
  • 15:55
    "The corporate tax exemption for new start up companies is being extended for the next three years"
  • 15:56
    First €100,000 of R&D can be used on tax credit
  • 15:57
    "Significant reduction in stamp duty on transfer of commercial property will apply to family farms"
  • 15:59
    Stamp Duty on commercial property also to be cut
  • 16:00
    9 per cent rate of VAT for tourism being extended to open farms
  • 16:01
    Stamp Duty on commercial property including farmland to be reduced by 6% to 2% from midnight
  • 16:02
    Capital Gains Tax incentive announced
  • 16:03
    No changes on residential stamp duty
  • 16:04
    Mortgage interest rate relief increased to 30 per cent
  • 16:05
    Move to introduce legislation to end upward only rent reviews shelved
  • 16:05
    Nama publishing policy guidance on how it deals with tenants who are suffering from upward only rent reviews
  • 16:06
    'Non-first time buyers in 2012 will benefit from relief at 15% instead 10% proposed by the last Government'
  • 16:06
    Increased morgage interest relief for 1st time buyers if you buy in 2012, but nothing if wait until 2013
  • 16:08
    "A property relief surcharge of 5% will be imposed on investors with an annual gross income over €100,000"
  • 16:08
    Legacy property reliefs being reduced and a report on it will be published with Finance Bill
  • 16:09
    Noel, Dublin 16 Seems to be all about stimulating growth so far
  • 16:10
    Noonan to establish a Nama advisory group who will advise him on Nama strategy and make appointments to its board
  • 16:12
    No increase in income tax
  • 16:13
    General government deficit will be 10.1% of GDP this year and 8.2% next year - both below targets in troika bailout
  • 16:14
    Niall he does seem to be all bout stimulating growth so far, however i think hes giving us the good news first before he tells us how we are going to pay for it
  • 16:14
    Josh Lucey, Dublin Nama better come up with something good rent concessions for retailers who are struggling. Otherwise they can have the keys of my shop alongside the rest of their property portfolio
  • 16:15
    Additional new tax measures of €1billion announced
  • 16:15
    Indirect taxes have a lower impact on jobs and economic growth says Noonan who calls on Opposition to state their alternatives
  • 16:17
    Universal Social Charge changes announced...From Jan 1st 2012, exemption level to be raised to €10,000
  • 16:17
    Graham Not even a mention of previously promised mortgage interest relief cuts for first time buyers in the boom years.....
  • 16:19
    330,000 people move out of liablity to pay Universal Social Charge says Noonan
  • 16:19
    2 per cent VAT charge confirmed for 2012 - Noonan says that VAT will not rise above 23 per cent during the lifetime of the Government
  • 16:20
    Peter Mooney, Portlaoise i'm sure Merkozy will be pleased. Noonan might even get a nice pat on the head when they meet in Brussels
  • 16:20
    George Fiddling with property market is dangerous, as we all know.
  • 16:22
    Capital Acquisitions Tax raised from 25% to 30%
  • 16:22
    Seóna Graham - mortgage interest relief raised to 30% for first time buyers who bought between 2004 and 2008
  • 16:23
    Capital Gains Tax also rises to 30 per cent
  • 16:24
    DIRT Tax up from 27% to 30%
  • 16:24
    Increase in carbon tax will be applied to petrol and auto-diesel from midnight tonight (1½ cent per litre)
  • 16:25
    "I am not going to apply the Carbon Tax to solid fuels, so there will be no increases for peat or coal"
  • 16:27
    Have your say on Budget 2012 at Harry McGee’s blog


  • 16:28
    Tom, Monkstown Hi Charlie, even allowing of the German parliament getting the details before the Dail, is the most leaked budget ever? There appears to be nothing here that we haven't been warned about already
  • 16:28
    'To protect vulnerable groups in society, waivers will be provided for certain groups from the Household Charge'
  • 16:28
    Household charge of €100 can be paid in installments
  • 16:28
    Increase in Motor Tax from January 1st
  • 16:29
    Daithi Clearly, Minister Noonan has absolutely no idea about the difference between coal and gas with regard to carbon. A most regressive review of any carbon tax, ever I believe.
  • 16:31
    Excise duty on 20 cigarettes going up 25c from midnight and on other tobacco on a pro rata basis
  • 16:31
    Garry, Dublin More "rich landlords" going bankrupt then
  • 16:31
    T Is 30% not on all mortgages...No specific year?
  • 16:31
    Daniel Meister National Youth Council of Ireland reaction: Raising USC exemption limit is good news for young people in low paid and part time work. 55% of those on minimum wage are U-25. James Doorley, NYCI Assistant Director @nycinews
  • 16:32
    No excise duty on alcohol
  • 16:32
    Del All budgets are leaked so as to soften the blow...
  • 16:33
    Vehicle Registration Tax export scheme to be implemented
  • 16:33
    Our role model should be the economy of the mid to late 90s says Noonan
  • 16:34
    Mr Noonan has finished speaking. FF's Michael McGrath is now on his feet...
  • 16:34
    Noonan ends by paying tribute to former minister for finance Brian Lenihan
  • 16:38
    One I missed during Mr Noonan's speech...Betting intermediaries duty to be brought in.
  • 16:38
    James, Limerick Whats to stop someone from paying their household charge in 50 installments of 2 euro each and demanding a receipt each time, thereby costing the government more money to process it then they are getting from it?
  • 16:38
    National Youth Council NYCI reaction: "Welcome that Govt will legislate to deal with cheap alcohol in 2012. But promises have been made before now is time for action #budget2012" @nycinews
  • 16:39
    Garry, Dublin And special thanks to Ahern and Cowen for making it possible, Sorry, I meant to say making it necessary!
  • 16:39
    "The decisions laid before this House yesterday and today are the decisions of Fine Gael and Labour and of nobody else" - McGrath
  • 16:41
    The full grisly details have now been published: http://budget.gov.ie/budgets/2012/2012.aspx
  • 16:43
    "The Government can no longer hide behind the actions of the previous government. From now on you will be judged on your actions and your political choices," says McGrath
  • 16:43
    National Youth Council NYCI Reaction: "Increase in mortgage relief for those who bought 2004-2008 will assist young people and young couples who bought then and is welcome," James Doorley, Assistant Director at the National Youth Council of Ireland. @nycinews #budget2012
  • 16:45
    "Now that you’ve shown your hand, the Irish people have been left bitterly disappointed."
  • 16:47
    Reaction to Mr Noonan's measures is already coming in so stay with us and we'll give you a flavour of how it's been received. And don't forget you can have your say either here on the liveblog or on our politics blog at http://bit.ly/uY3DhC
  • 16:50
    Colleen In all the money they cut in this budget why did they not reduce their own wages to be in line with every one else in the country that is working to see if they could live on pittance but no they still live the life of luxury with there big wages big pensions chauffeur driven state car they should of left the price of car tax alone, fuel should of been left & alcohol which was was untchanged should of been loaded up. Government people do not realise how tough it is at the moment with out this budget over the past 2 days to live after all these changes it is going to be tougher more & more people not been fit to pay bills or put a bite of food on the table you's should really be ashamed of yourselves. People in Government should could & live the life some of us normal people are living with little income & big outgoings let them see how stressfull it is. There is no wonder there is so many people taking there own lives in this country because government are murdering them. People of ireland should take a day of strike & sort this matter out once & for all demand that we go back to the punt & drop the Euro cause the country is a mess since we took it on
  • 16:50
    gerry,Cork So property reliefs continue to be enjoyed while the poorest lose their income benfits immediately. How many disabled can be looked after for the value of these benefits to the select few?
  • 16:53
    Here's the full text of Mr Noonan's Budget 2011 speech: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/budget2012/speeches/
  • 16:55
    Peter What does USC on a cumulative basis mean? Pay less at the start of the year and a lot more closer to christmas?
  • 16:56
    Reaction from Deloitte via their official Twitter account: "Overall some apsects of #Budget2012 to be welcomed - R&D changes, Special Assignment Relief Programme and Foreign Earnings Deduction."
  • 16:58
    "Postgraduate education should not be the preserve of the wealthy" - McGrath speaking on the abolishment of the postgraduate grant
  • 16:58
    Garry, Dublin How is an increase of up to almost 54% justified on motor tax?
  • 16:58
    Seamus How long will the 30% interest relief last?
  • 17:03
    The Construction Industry Federation has welcomed the reduction in commercial property stamp duty, the introduction of a specific Capital Gains Tax incentive and the removal of uncertainty relating to upwards-only rent reviews in existing commercial leases. It also supported the increase in mortgage interest relief for those who buy a home in 2012 and the establishment of a Nama advisory board. However, it said the Government has missed an opportunity to tackle the black economy and stimulate employment and economic activity in Budget 2012.
  • 17:03
    David Can you explain the increase of tax on the transfer of pension funds from 1 % to 6% on ARFs
  • 17:03
    Peter C I do not understand why alcohol was left untouched, this seems like a complete no brainer. Raise incremental revenue and reduce A&E angst at the same time, reduce social problems and and and and. Bizzare
  • 17:08
    Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin smiles as the party's finance spokesman Michael McGrath responds to today's new measures in the Dáil
    Fianna Fáil leader Micheal Martin smiles as the party's finance spokesman Michael McGrath responds to today's new measures in the Dáil
  • 17:08
    richard so how much are cigarettes now ?
  • 17:09
    Mick On USC exemption limit increase, will that benefit anyone else except those earning up to the new threshold of €10,036? In other words, is it pro rata and if you earn 25,000 is the first 10036 exempt or not?
  • 17:09
    Sinéad If they are increasing the Mortgage Interest Relief to 30% for people who bought between 2004-2008 are they proposing to extend the relief period? As the relief period is for 7 years those who bought in 2004 won't qualify after this tax year...?
  • 17:11
    Got a particular question need answering about Budget 2012 and how it impacts on you? We'll have our panel of experts live on the website tomorrow morning to respond. Post your questions here: http://www.irishtimes.com/asktheexperts/
  • 17:13
    Sam What does USC exemption + threshold mean to anyone? Will it cost me less or more say if i earn 25,000
  • 17:16
    Savills Ireland had said measures announced today should allow the commercial property to return to more normal market levels of activity:

    “The reduction in stamp duty on commercial property transactions from 6 per cent to a flat rate of 2 per cent should have the desired effect of reigniting the market which has seen a 100 per cent drop in activity since the peak of market in 2006 when over €3 billion worth of commercial property transactions were completed," said director of research Joan Henry.

    “The Minister’s clarity on the uncertainty surrounding the proposed legislation on rent reviews is also welcome as the on-going uncertainty has destroyed market activity to date in 2011 and has made it impossible for investors to make decisions to complete transactions," she added.
  • 17:16
    David B @ Mick re USC - it's unlikely as currently the first €4,004 is exempt ONLY if you earn less than that figure. If you earn €4,005 then the entire €4,005 is subject to USC so I would assume that the same principal applies here.
  • 17:17
    Gillian Bought first house in 2006 bought subsequent house in 2010, what affects does the increase in mortgage interest relief have on me?
  • 17:17
    Dave To Sinéad at 1709, the rules changed last year and those who bought between 2004-2011 had their mortgage interest relief period extended to 2017
  • 17:23
    Trade union Unite has criticised the Budget which it says will damage Ireland.

    "It could hardly have been designed better for those seeking to protect personal wealth," it said.
  • 17:26
    Sinn Féin's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty is now speaking in the Dáil
    Sinn Féin's finance spokesman Pearse Doherty is now speaking in the Dáil
  • 17:27
    For those of you just joining us here's the main points from Budget 2012: http://www.irishtimes.com/indepth/budget2012/mainpoints/
  • 17:30
    The Small Firms Association has said Budget 2012 contains many welcome measures including the extension of the corporate tax break for start-ups to 2014, the foreign earnings deductions to support companies entering emerging markets and the improvements to the R&D tax credit scheme. However, the organisation was highly critical of the 2 per cent VAT increase, which it said would further destroy consumer sentiment.
  • 17:30
    David B re USC - anyone earning more than €10,036 per annum will see absolutely no change in their take-home pay at all in 2012
  • 17:33
    Drivers have been badly hit in this year's Budget. Here's our motoring correspondent Michael McAleer's take on how the new measures impact on motorists: http://bit.ly/sEbxWy
  • 17:39
    Labour TD Patrick Nulty has announced he will vote against Budget 2012, just 40 days after his election.

    "I am not prepared to support measures which damage our economic recovery while attacking the weak, the sick, the marginalised and the vulnerable,” he said in a statement a short time ago.
  • 17:40
    Siobhan What are the proposed changes to the rent supplement scheme
  • 17:40
    Steo So those of us who waited out the false economy of buying during the property boom, where's our carrot? Typical of Ireland: no one takes personal responsibility for their actions and complain in couched language about how it's bad for Ireland. My wife and I did the right thing and didn't lose the plot during the boom times and we're left to suffer along with (and in certain regards more than) the rest of the population. This budget is a disgrace.
  • 17:40
    Guest extraordinary that the Minister should announce that they will not act on upward only rent reviews. This is truly disastrous for my retail business, employing 15 people. I've been injecting capital to keep the business going til a resolution is found. Now I've no money left and no hope of finding a solution. Celtic tiger rents will persist and I can't pay them. Banks, landlords and NAMA you are welcome to the empty shops. Shutters down lads.
  • 17:42
    Joseph, Tallaght Savills are celebrating the upward only rent reviews U-turn. That says it all. I'm sure they'll be in business in January. I doubt if I will - retailer employing 14 people in Dublin
  • 17:42
    Barnardos has welcomed the Government’s decision to increase the Universal Social Charge exemption level from €4,004 to €10,036, removing 330,000 people from the USC net. The children’s charity said that this "would go some way to relieving financial pressure on those engaged in low paid, part-time and seasonal employment."

    However, it said more could have been done to protect the most vulnerable families.

    "Increases in VAT and carbon tax and the introduction of a €100 household tax will hit the same families targeted by many of the cuts announced yesterday," said chief executive Fergus Finlay.
  • 17:45
    Here's our recently published reports on the new annual household charge http://bit.ly/viPEUN and the carbon tax increase http://bit.ly/uR0bR4
  • 17:49
    Focus Ireland has warned that the Budget cuts to rent supplement will make it even more difficult for people who are homeless to get access to accommodation.

    “The main route out of homelessness for people is to get in to private rented accommodation. This access is more vital than ever due to the continued failure by the State to deliver housing for people who are homeless and thousands more at risk. These cuts mean people will have to top up rent out of their welfare payments which will make it tougher for the most marginlised," said director of advocacy Mike Allen.
  • 17:53
    Didn't catch the main Budget 2012 speeches by Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan? Watch them here: http://bit.ly/vYlCuu
  • 18:01
    Independent TD Mick Wallace pictured speaking on Budget 2012
    Independent TD Mick Wallace pictured speaking on Budget 2012
  • 18:03
    Here's my colleague Suzanne Lynch's news piece covering the 2 per cent rise in VAT announced today http://bit.ly/t2yiu4
  • 18:06
    Age Action has given a cautious welcome to today's announcement of the taxation element of Budget 2012, noting that it will result in a small increase in the income of some low income pensioners, but will leave most pensioners paying more for essential household items such as energy.

    The older people's charity welcomed the fact that tax bands and thresholds were left untouched. It especially welcomed the exemption of the first €10,036 of income from the Universal Social Charge, noting this would benefit pensioners on low public service pensions.
  • 18:08
    Looking at how Twitter is responding to Opposition statements on Budget 2012 and it seems as though Pearse Doherty is the TD considered to have given the best performance today. Independent TD Mick Wallace is still speaking so there's a chance he may improve but he's not doing great according to most of the comments being published
  • 18:20
    johnny I paid 120.000 Euro in property taxes when I bought my house in 2006 I WILL NOT pay an addittional property tax now or next year.............I'll go to jail if i have to
  • 18:21
    Richard Boyd Barrett TD is now commenting on the Budget 2012 measures: "The household charge is a poll tax and is regressive, " he said a short time ago.
  • 18:23
    The American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has welcomed decisions on the Special Assignment Relief Programme (SARP) announced today.

    “In these difficult economic times it is encouraging that the Department of Finance is showing foresight and introducing initiatives which will aid future job creation”, said Anna Scally, chair of the American Chamber Tax Group.

    The Chamber also welcomed the Ministers definitive comments on Ireland’s corporation tax regime.
  • 18:27
    The Vintners Federation of Ireland has welcomed the commitment today by Minister Noonan that legislation will be introduced in 2012 to address the issue of very cheap alcohol which is widely available in supermarkets.

  • 18:32
    The Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland has said that given the constraints within which the Government is working, the second part of the budget "seems to have adopted a balanced approach with incentives directed towards both the Multinational and indigenous sectors."

    Cork Chamber of Commerce has expressed regret that more was not done to protect employment and support business in Budget 2012.

    Elsewhere, the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) has welcomed the special allocation of funding for the 'Gathering' tourism initiative. However it crticised changes to capital allowance schemes.
  • 18:35
    Ouch! Shane Ross is up now in the Dáil and he's not happy...he's just accused the Government of taking "on the mantle of the conservative economic policies of Fianna Fáil and have taken it on with relish"
  • 18:37
    Dublin Chamber of Commerce has said the reduction in commercial stamp duty, together with other measures to promote stability and demand, will provide a much needed stimulus to the moribund commercial property market in Dublin

    "The increase in VAT, of itself, will do little to stimulate demand, but its introduction has been well flagged and no further increases are planned," it said.
  • 18:46
    A wordle image of text from Minister for Finance Michael Noonan's Budget 2012 speech
    A wordle image of text from Minister for Finance Michael Noonan's Budget 2012 speech
  • 19:04
    We're ending our liveblog for the evening but will be continuing our coverage of Budget 2012 throughout the evening on the website.

    The liveblog will also be back online tomorrow at 10am when our panel of experts will again be answering questions about how the budget impacts on you. Send us your questions here: http://www.irishtimes.com/asktheexperts/

    Thanks for all your comments. Good night.
  • 09:34
    We're getting ready for day two of our expert question and answer session.
  • 09:35
    If you have any questions on how the budget measures will affect your finances, you can submit them at http://www.irishtimes.com/asktheexperts
  • 09:35
    Lots of queries on mortgage interest relief and how the change in the USC exemption will impact.
  • 10:19
    The decision to cut disability benefit is causing a lot of controversy.
  • 10:26
    Minister for Finance Michael Noonan and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin are on RTE's Today with Pat Kenny getting some of the reaction from the public.
  • 10:29
    Howlin is saying that the Government tried to be as fair as possible in making the cuts.
  • 10:31
    One caller pointing out that students from the lower socio economic groups will be left out in the cold - they aren't going to protest.
  • 10:32
    Ministers are being told we're not going to have a work force for the future if essential subjects are cut in schools as a result of the cutbacks.
  • 10:36
    The reality of a single parent's financial situation is being laid out for the Ministers.

    Howlin: "We would love to be in a position to increase social welfare provision."

    He acknowledges the fuel allowance reduction is a hit on people. "It is painful, it is difficult, and we wish we weren't in a situation where we had to do this."
  • 10:40
    Good point on management fees vs household charge. Many buyers of apartment and houses in newer estates already pay a fee to management companies for lighting and upkeep. VAT is charged on this.

    Noonan, however, acknowledges that the €100 is a tax, to be paid for the local authority to provide services locally. There'll be no exemption on VAT for these home owners, they'll still have to pay the €100 charge. Noonan says management fees are a private arrangement.
  • 10:41
    Any questions that are being submitted to the live blog are being forwarded to our experts. You can see the answers at http://www.irishtimes.com/asktheexperts
  • 10:41
    Kevin Stanley Two perspectives on Disability Allowance cuts - One: Kids at the age of 16 getting €188 warrant questions but there are some who cannot even attend school or work. It needs to be considered. Young disabled up to 24 years old getting DA in line with others getting Jobseekers Allowance - Maybe fair enough. However, less than 10% of them can even access to third level education or employment. Something to think about also. Two: It is wrong and unfair to target disabled people without much justifcation. In reality, 80% of employers would not employ disabled people - no matter how educated or experienced or skilled they are. Employers would opt non-disabled with low qualification and little experience than disabled with high qualification and 20 plus years to experience. That is the reality of situation the disabled face. The Government must now create incentives to ensure disabled people access to labour market and encourage employers to employ disabled people, who can prove their productivity if the access and supports are in place.
  • 10:42
    We can expect some reform of the health insurance industry before too long, according to Noonan.
  • 10:48
    Our panel of experts are currently answering your questions - feel free to comment on their answers over at http://www.irishtimes.com/asktheexperts. We've had a few already. And, as expected, plenty of spam.
  • 10:50
    How does the exemption for the universal social charge affect you? http://bit.ly/uun6fV
  • 10:50
    Listening to Noonan talking about child benefit - he's in favour of universal benefit but with a top-up for those who might need more.
  • 10:54
    Upward only rent reviews and the Government's failure to deal with them is up now - apparently we'd end up paying compensation to landlords.
  • 10:54
    Noonan says Nama has agreed for its properties, downward rent reviews can apply.
  • 10:55
    Seems like Nama's commercial tenants will have to go through the landlords first,. and if they don't get any satisfaction, Nama can intervene.

  • 10:57
    On our Q&A session, mortgage interest relief for those who bought at the peak is a hot topic.
  • 10:58
    Some of the questions are here: http://bit.ly/rT1NZW
  • 10:58
    If you bought in 2011, do you qualify for the higher interest relief? http://bit.ly/rMMLqe
  • 11:05
    Caroline Will all questions sent to Ask the Expers be answered?
  • 11:06
    Hi Caroline, we're working on them at the moment - we're trying to answer as many as possible. The majority will be answered, though.
  • 11:31
    More on the qualifying criteria for the higher rate of mortgage interest relief http://bit.ly/sASYPZ
  • 11:31
    shaun I have 2 questions: 1. I bought a house with my wife in 2008. I am a first time buyer, she isn't. Will I qualify for tax relief (albeit a smaller amount) as the mortgage is in both our names? 2. We paid tax on the house when we bought it. Are we expected to pay additional property taxes now?
  • 11:32
    Hi Shaun, your question has been forwarded to the panel.
  • 11:36
    The answer is here http://bit.ly/uYSIff
  • 11:38
    Máire Ní Dhomhnaill How can it be thought of as a good idea to impose a 100 euro charge on households when so many people are already defaulting on their Mortgages?
  • 11:52
    Lots of questions still coming in - we'll have our panel here til noon, but we'll continue to answer your questions throughout the day.
  • 11:56
    The topic generating most questions this morning is the mortgage interest relief and who qualifies.
  • 12:00
    Barry OFlanagan We bought in 2007, it was our second house and so we were not first time buyers. We paid massive stamp duty at the time as the purchase was before the stamp duty reforms and of course have a massive mortgage now, which we are servicing. So proportionately we paid far more tax to the state on our second purchase than when we were first time buyers. From reading the budget information though, it looks like only first time buyers between 2004-2008 are going to get the increased relief? Is this correct?
  • 12:12
    Our Q&A session has officially ended, but we'll try to answer some of the questions we haven't got to yet. Thanks for your queries and comments.

    In the meantime, you can go to http://www.Irishtimes.com/indepth/budget2012 to see some of the video analysis from Irish Times experts.