Fuel and energy tax cuts to be extended as part of €2bn budget package

Seen & heard: Coalition’s budget plans; Sisk’s threat to exit social housing schemes; demand for cheaper, own-brand groceries

The Government is set to extend the current fuel tax cuts and the reduced VAT rate for electricity, as part of a budget package in excess of €2 billion aimed at easing the cost of living crisis, the Business Post reports. Ministers are due to sign off tomorrow on the Summer Economic Statement, which will give an update on the Government’s budgetary framework. The existing budget package of €1.5 billion — comprising tax cuts of €500 million and spending increases of €1 billion — is expected to be increased to a figure in excess of €2 billion. One Coalition source said that the tax package, which will be focused on increasing income tax bands and credits, would be a lot more than €500 million. It will be matched again by a similar-sized social welfare package.

US stocks see worst first-half drop in more than 50 years

US stocks have seen their worst first half of a year since 1970, as concerns grow over how steps to curb inflation will affect economic growth, the BBC reports. In the last six months, the benchmark S&P 500 index fell 20.6%, while other major US indexes also dropped sharply. Stocks in the UK, mainland Europe and Asia have also suffered steep losses. It comes as central banks around the world are trying to rein in soaring living costs, with prices of essential goods like food and fuel jumping.

Sisk threatened to pull out of all future social housing schemes over costs

Sisk, Ireland’s largest building contractor, threatened to pull out of all future social and affordable housing developments before the Government announced it would intervene to cover some construction cost inflation, the Business Post has learned. In a letter to Minister for Housing Darragh O’Brien, Sisk chief executive Paul Brown said the company had been “consistently realising losses” on all social housing projects to date, which was “ultimately undermining the viability” of the business.

Bank of Ireland and Davy manage a third of assets invested by Ireland’s wealthiest households

Bank of Ireland and Davy now manage about a third of the invested assets of Ireland’s wealthiest households, according to a report in the Sunday Independent. Research by PwC, commissioned by Davy at the time of its takeover by Bank of Ireland, assessed the size of the market for invested financial assets of the top 10 per cent of wealthiest households in the State. Invested assets cover wealth managed by financial service providers in the State.

‘Marked increase’ in demand for cheaper, own-brand items in Irish supermarkets

Supermarket groups in Ireland are recording increased demand for their own-brand ranges as consumers across the country continue to feel the pinch from rampant inflationary pressures. In response to questions from the Sunday Independent, Musgrave, which owns grocers SuperValu and Centra, said it had noticed a “marked increase” in demand for its own-brand ranges. It added that it has “significantly increased” the amount of own-brand, private label products it holds in its stores.