14 December 2006 Edition

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Budget increases inequality

Speaking in the Dáil during the debate on Brian Cowen’s Budget Sinn Féin Enterprise, Trade and Employment spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD said the budget increased inequality between the low paid and high paid. Pointing out that those above the average industrial wage will gain twice as much as those below it he characterised the Budget as one that put high earners first.
While welcoming some measures around support for small businesses, Morgan attacked government investment in a two-tier health system as Minister Harney’s hospital co-location proposal collapses.
High income earners will share a €1.25 billion personal tax package. They get the cumulative benefit of the increase in personal tax credits, the benefit of the widening of the standard tax band and are the beneficiaries of the 1% cut in the top rate. High income earners will get the highest increases in the weekly pay as a result of the budget.

Lower paid gain least
The impact IMPACT trade union has said high earners are ‘three-time winners’ after the budget.
Morgan said that a remarkable feature of the budget was that those just below the average industrial wage, people on €30,000 per annum, gain least per week. They gain €8 per week, compared to gains of at least twice as much for those above €35,000.
“This is a budget that clearly increases inequality between the low paid and the high paid”, Morgan said.
Sinn Féin’s Agriculture and Rural Development spokesperson Martin Ferris TD said the government would be remembered for being the first to have the resources to eliminate poverty and inequality in Ireland, and lacking the will to do so. Referring to areas like food poverty, the carer’s means test and the plight of asylum seekers, Ferris pointed out a range of areas where the government had said nothing yesterday, before attacking the Budget’s proposals on the environment.

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