A taxi driver’s take on Budget 2019: ‘Cigarette hike is disgraceful’
Christopher Fox: ‘It is beyond a joke when I am handing out €150 a week for cigarettes’
Christopher Fox, taxi driver. Photograph: Ronan McGreevy
Christopher Fox, Pearse House, Dublin
“I smoke 40 cigarettes a day. Cigarettes are going up by 50 cent. That’s disgraceful. They [the Government] are just constantly nailing the people who smoke.
“I spend €140 a week on cigarettes. It’s probably €150 when you add everything up. It’s gone beyond a joke when I’m handing out €150 a week for cigarettes. I’ll just have to stop.
“When I was a kid it was a big thing to have a cigarette. Now it’s come out in the wash that cigarettes are bad for you. People are getting cancer from them and other diseases. I haven’t heard the Government say that they will hold the cigarette companies to account. They haven’t done it. Tobacco companies should be putting the money into the hospitals.
“I was off the cigarettes for two years. I had a stressful time and I went back on them. They say trying to give up cigarettes is harder than trying to give up heroin. I am going to try and give up the cigarettes again. All the Government does is lash out at the old reliables. At least there’s no increase in the price of diesel as my car is diesel. That’s a good thing.
“There are people on the street who are homeless. They [the authorities] are spending absolute fortunes on hotels when the money would be better spent providing proper accommodation.
“The fact that there is now jobseeker’s allowance for the self-employed is good, but it is not enough. I’m happy that the self-employed are getting this, because up to last year we were getting nothing.
“I was off for two weeks sick and I’m back in the car again trying to earn a few bob. I haven’t seen a shilling, not one penny have I seen.
“We were told during the recession . . . that the USC would be done away with once we weren’t in recession anymore.
“It hasn’t been done away with. It still remains. The Government reduced it by 2 per cent. We were told we were out of a recession so why haven’t they [the Government] taken it off the board?
“It is the same with inheritance tax. You work all your life. You want to leave this to your children, and they hit you with a 33 per cent tax. The threshold has been increased [from €310,000 per child to €320,000], but they shouldn’t be doing it at all because you are already paying property tax.”