Opposition rounds on Lenihan after Budget speech

Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan has been labelled a scrooge and a bully for his punishing Budget.

Labour's Spokeswoman on Finance Joan Burton has accused the Minister of picking on children by reducing the Children's Allowance.

The Minister insists all measures announced in Budget 2010 are necessary to turn Ireland's economy around.

Key Budget reforms:

Here are the main Budget 2010 reforms detailed by Brian Lenihan in the Dáil.

:: Child benefit down by up to 10%, reducing monthly payments by more than €16 – rates now €150 and €187 a month. Welfare-dependent families will instead get a qualified child allowance of €3.80 per week, with low income families also compensated.

:: Unemployment benefit cut by about 4.1% – €8 a week – to under €200.

:: Payments to new applicants aged 20 and 21, who have no dependent children, dropped to €100 a week, and to €150 for 22-24 year olds.

:: The old age pension remains untouched.

:: Excise Duty on beer down 12c, spirits 14c and wine 60c cut to entice shoppers to spend more south of the border.

:: Reverses the 0.5% increase in the VAT rate which imposed last year – costing the exchequer an estimated €140m next year.

:: No change to cigarettes costs in the hope of combating smuggling.

:: Income tax rates will be designed next year on a progressive basis to hit higher incomes.

:: A new universal social contribution will replace employee PRSI, the Health Levy and the Income Levy and will be paid by everyone at a low rate.

:: Public sector workers earning over €30,000 have pay cut by an average 5%, with higher earners facing a 15% reduction.

:: Ministers will take a 15% pay cut, with Taoiseach Brian Cowen taking 20%.

:: All Irish nationals and domiciled individuals, whose worldwide income exceeds €1m, and whose Irish-located capital is greater than 5 million euro, must pay an Irish Domicile Levy of €200,000 a year no matter where they pay tax.

:: Carbon Tax introduced for the first time and equivalent to €15 per tonne with diesel up 4.9c and petrol 4.2c from midnight.

:: Scrappage scheme introduced for cars more than years old.

:: Homeowners who bought at the peak of the boom keep mortgage interest relief support until 2017.

:: A 50c charge added to every item on a prescription.

:: Water charges, when introduced, will be based on consumption above a free allocation.

:: The capital budget for new building work cut by almost €1bn.

:: Ireland’s corporation tax remains at 12.5%. Mr Lenihan said: “It is here to stay.”


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