By Michael Clifford
Higher income earners gained 10 times as much as low earners in Budget 2019, that’s according to anti-poverty group Social Justice Ireland (SJI).
An analysis of the income tax and USC changes in the budget outline that a single person with an income of €25,000 is better off by €26.52 a year, while a person on €75,000 benefits to the tune of €288.
Seán Healy, the director of SJI, said all income earners would have benefited by €85 if the Government had adopted SJI’s proposals of tax credits rather than changing rates.
The budget did little to narrow the growing gap of inequality, said Dr Healy.
Policy analyst with SJI, Michelle Murphy, said that those in the income bracket between €15,000 and €25,000 were largely ignored in the budget.
“That group missed out on last year’s budget and they missed out again,” she said.
“The benefits in changes in income tax were skewed towards high earners.”
In a budget analysis and critique prepared by SJI staff, it was noted that the tax take would have to be increased even to maintain the level of services that currently exist.
“Consequently an increase in the tax take is a question of how rather than if, and we believe it should be a scale appropriate to maintain current service provisions while providing the resources to build a better society,” the analysis stated.
SJI welcomed the €5 increase in social welfare payments but pointed out that it didn’t go far enough to alleviate the effects of one in six people living below the poverty line.