Gormley: Budget ensures equity in tax changes

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, has said today's Budget has ensured equity with respect to changes in tax.

The Minister for the Environment, John Gormley, has said today's Budget has ensured equity with respect to changes in tax.

Green Party leader said: "Today's budget will help to equip Ireland to meet the significant economic, social and environmental challenges that lie ahead of us.

"It was well flagged that this would be a very difficult budget, but great attempts have been made to ensure that equity is preserved, particularly in the area of taxation changes.

"The Green Party in Government has ensured that the most vulnerable people in our society are protected.

Mr Gormley said his party had guaranteed the introduction of measures to address public transport, energy efficiency, carbon emissions and environmental protection.

He said: "In particular, I am happy that funding for water and sewage projects has increased by 19% to ensure that everybody has access to a clean water supply. I have further safeguarded local government funding of public services through a levy on second homes and motor tax increases.

"Tomorrow I will deliver a 'carbon budget' outlining progress made since the last Budget and the steps that the Government will take in 2009 to tackle climate change. The Minister for Finance clearly stated today that a revenue neutral carbon levy will be introduced in next year's Budget once the Commission on Taxation reports. This a very significant step."

The Green Party's Finance Spokesperson, Senator Dan Boyle, said: "In straitened times the Green Party has safeguarded the funding of public transport projects including Metro North, the Dublin interconnector, the extension of the two Luas lines to Cherrywood and the Point, and the Cork-to-Middleton rail line.

"The Government has also increased fuel allowances, welfare payments, the health budget and the school building programme, and this is to be welcomed. I am happy too that the equality agency and human rights agency will retain their independence.

"Increases in the rate of Capital Gains Tax are in line with the principle that people should pay the same effective tax on capital as they do on their income. Efforts to standardise many tax reliefs means that all taxpayers claiming such reliefs will be doing so on an equal basis.

"The Government has committed to spending 0.56% of GNP on overseas development assistance in 2009 and is on target to meet its Millennium Development Goal target of 0.7% by 2012."

"At a local level I am pleased to see moves towards a tax relief for Seveso listed industrial facilities located in port areas. This relief is an important signal of Government interest in developing the Cork Docklands project," concluded Mr Boyle.

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