The super wealthy will get a bigger benefit from the budget than those on lower incomes caught in the cost-of-living crisis, the Dáil has been told.
Social Democrats joint leader Róisín Shortall said that “TDs on more than €100,000 and Ministers on in excess of €180,000” were to receive the same €600 energy credit as those on the minimum wage.
She said they would also benefit by almost €800 from tax cuts while lower income workers would get only €150.
Hitting out at the Government’s failure to target supports, she asked in the Dáil if anyone had even tried in the past 11 months to separate those on higher incomes and confine credits to lower income workers and families.
In her response to the budget announcements, Ms Shortall said that through tax cuts and energy supports, public representatives would benefit to the tune of €1,400.
She said “it really is shocking that under the Government’s plan, the super wealthy are getting a bigger benefit than lower income earners who must daily make a choice between feeding their families and heating their homes”.
Labour finance spokesman Ged Nash warned that further measures would be needed after Christmas.
“Once the hangover wears off in the new year, it will suddenly dawn on all of us that another mini-budget” will be necessary, he said.
Those on incomes above €100,000 will be €831 better off, Mr Nash said, while those earning €25,000-€35,000 would earn an additional €4 a week, €191 in a year. Some 1.2 million taxpayers would hardly see any benefit at all, he added.
The party’s Dublin Fingal TD, Duncan Smith, said some of the measures “may help people tread water” for a little while but there would be no fundamental change in people’s lives. By trying to please everybody, “they will actually please nobody”.
“We’ll be back to square one in late winter or early spring.”
He added that the zero VAT rate for newspapers had come too late for the Fingal Independent which announced on budget day that it would cease trading from the end of September.
Social Democrats housing spokesman Cian O’Callaghan said the tax credit for renters without proper enforcement, without rental controls and a rent freeze “will simply be gobbled up by landlords” in increased rents.
He added it was “unbelievable” that the Government was exempting derelict houses from the tax on vacant homes. This “creates a perverse incentive for any owner of a vacant property to let it go derelict to avoid the 0.3 per cent tax”, which he said was nowhere near property price inflation of 8 per cent.
People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd-Barrett said the budget was neither giveaway nor bonanza, except to profiteering energy companies, corporate landlords and big corporations.
The Government has given less than half of the €297 basic income he said was needed to keep people out of poverty.
The people who needed help were going to be worse off next year than they were this year, Mr Boyd-Barrett said, adding that people earning €25,000-€35,000 who had lost an estimated €4,000-€5,000 in the crisis would get only €4 a week.