Budget 2012 was brutal. But our government leaks like a sieve so it wasn’t much of a surprise. In the Irish Times, Conor Pope called it “Austerity 6 – Revenge of the Troika”, and with tongue planted firmly in cheek, the Indo hinted at a genteel revolt as “Wine-guzzling mansion owners unite against Bolshie Baldy Noonan”.
Kidding aside, this budget hits hard. And it seems to hit working stiffs and families the hardest. I used to think we were a country that cherished the family and encouraged kids. Not so it seems. Child benefit is down again. Now you’ll get €130 per kid regardless of how many you have. If you’ve you’ve got two kids, you’re down €20 per month. If you’ve got four, you’ll be out €58.
Want to drive those kids to school in your pre-low emissions car because you can’t afford a new one? Better find another €100 as motor tax goes up by 15%.
And when you stop getting child benefit for the kids as they head off to college, you’re going to need to come up with an extra €250 in registration fees.
The fun doesn’t stop there of course. If you’re plodding off to work every day, you’re going to lose your PRSI allowance which will cost you a fiver a week or €264 per year. Michael Noonan insisted that this isn’t an income tax increase by another name. But people looking at their pay slips may beg to differ.
Think you’ll have any savings left after that? Well if you do, the government is going to chow down on those too. DIRT’s going up again. Now you’ll pay 33% on your savings interest. But wait! There’s more! Savings interest will now be subject to PRSI too.
Then there’s the granddaddy of them all. Property tax. It’ll be 0.18% of the value of your home every year. The average asking price in Ireland is now around €170,000, so you should expect to fork over around €300 in property tax.
So with that, the average family could be down around €1,000 per year, and I haven’t covered nearly all of the cuts and taxes yet. And in an absurd denial, Michael Noonan said "I don't accept that figure. You might get an example that fits that but it's not typical." Really? I'd say a working family with two kids is pretty typical wouldn't you?
After all that, you're probably thinking it's time to drown your sorrows. But you might have to think twice about grabbing a couple of bottles of wine. Mr Noonan is slapping a euro on each and every bottle from now on. He’s only putting 10 cent on the price of pint and 10 cent on a shot of spirits though. Isn’t that strange? Why such a discrepancy? Could it be that we don’t make wine in Ireland? But we do make beer and liquor? And doesn't the Irish drinks industry have a very very powerful lobby? Hmmm….
But what the heck, if we all have to suck it up, mine’s a shot of whiskey with a beer chaser thank you very much.
Want to work out how it's going to affect you? We like the Irish Independent's quick calculator linked here