Cantillon: Joan Burton taking ‘protection’ in title seriously

Why should the State be looking in these austere times to be extending any more largesse?

Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection. Photograph: Frank Miller.

Joan Burton, Minister for Social Protection. Photograph: Frank Miller.

Sat, Sep 7, 2013, 01:03

You’d think Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton would have enough on her plate – fending off all those Fine Gael ministerial colleagues with an eye on parts of her welfare budget to bolster their own departmental objectives.

But there she was yesterday looking to protect even more people – or at least the Advisory Group on Tax and Social Welfare, led by Ita Mangan on her behalf, as it proposes extending social insurance cover for the self-employed in exchange for a 1.5 percentage point increase in PRSI.

PRSI rates of 4 per cent for a State pension and other existing benefits was exceptional value Ms Mangan opined.

Indeed, so why should the State be looking in these austere times to be extending any more largesse?

Might it have something to do with the Government looking for relatively painless ways to bridge the €300-€400 million gap in revenue-
raising measures in next month’s Budget?

Mangan was at pains to explains that this was a social insurance matter and not taxation. Of course, it isn’t . . . and nor is the universal social charge, nor the pension levy. Unfortunately to those with the money being taken out of their pay cheques, it’s a moot point.

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