Making sense of Budget 2018

 

Sir, – There is another anomaly in relation to the non-contributory pension. In assessing the means there is a disregard of €200 per week in the case of income from employment and the early farm retirement scheme. This does not apply to those who may have a small work pension. Could anything be more bonkers ?

We fix the banks and give cheap loans to developers and yet we put roadblocks in the way of pensioners. Is it any wonder that people are deserting the established political parties? – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL JOY,

Midleton,

Co Cork.

Sir, – An estimated 4,000 social housing homes will be delivered next year, despite 100,000 being needed. This is rebuilding Ireland? At this rate it will take 25 years to provide what we need!

A 30 cent increase in the minimum wage to €9.55, despite the living wage being estimated to be €11.70. This meagre amount will not be enough to help the one in nine children living in consistent poverty in Ireland.

Putting €1.5 billion away for a rainy day fund? Well, the rainy day is here for many who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads and the many who struggle to put food on their tables. – Yours, etc,

Cllr FRANCIS TIMMONS,

Clondalkin, Dublin 22.

Sir, – While the provision of social welfare is clearly essential to a fair society, the goal ought to be to minimise the numbers dependent on such support.

One of the significant challenges for Government therefore is how to incentivise individuals to take low-paid jobs. The current budget raises job seekers allowance by €5 per week and provides a Christmas bonus. This must look generous to those earning €20,000 to €25,000 per year, who are only better off to the tune of a euro per week. Unintended perhaps, but a consequence nonetheless. – Yours, etc,

BRIAN O’BRIEN,

Kinsale,

Co Cork.

Sir, – The main theme of Budget 2018 is that “the books are broadly balanced”, ignoring the small matter of a budgeted deficit of €2.76 billion. Why can we not say it as it is? Another €2.76 billion to add to our mountainous national debt. – Yours, etc,

MICHAEL MONAGHAN,

Mount Merrion,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Ronan Scanlan advocates “completion” of the tax individualisation, essentially wondering why couples should be jointly assessed for tax (October 11th). The answer is obvious (apart from any societal considerations), couples are jointly assessed when it comes to State benefits. Moreover, if my spouse and I were to separate, there would be a court determined division of assets and income. In our dotage, we will be expected to look after each other before the State steps in; indeed, transfers between couples are exempt from taxes as it is presumed the assets and income belong to both parties.

If Mr Scanlan is looking to cut a more illogical and economically dubious sop to the middle class, he should start with the capital gains tax exemption for property, which means that renters and those who have paid the highest prices are subsidising property owners who have made enormous unearned gains. – Yours, etc,

MATTHEW GLOVER,

Lucan,

Co Dublin.

Sir, – Another budget and yet again this year not a cent of an increase on duties on alcohol. This is despite the fact that one euro in every 10 of the health budget is spent on services for people who suffer the consequences of alcohol misuse; that some 400,000 people in Ireland and those associated with them are affected by alcohol abuse; that alcohol is a major factor in traffic accidents, suicide, domestic abuse and assaults in public places.

Budget 2018 simply demonstrates that shareholders in the Irish drinks industry and in the hospitality sector generally continue to be on a winning streak.

Sadly, Irish society as a whole, and in particular those who will never benefit from a drinks company dividend, will continue to suffer the consequences of living in a society in which powerful vested interests call the shots. – Yours, etc,

Dr MICHAEL LOFTUS,

Crossmolina,

Co Mayo.