Donohoe defends key budget calculations

Social Justice Ireland has warned the plan will not address the crises in housing and health

Donohoe defends key budget calculations

The Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe at a press briefing in relation to Budget 2018, 10-10-2017. Image: RollingNews

The Minister for Finance has moved to defend one of the cornerstone calculations included in Budget 2018.

The Increase of commercial stamp duty from 2% to 6% is the single biggest tax raising measure from yesterday's budget.

Minister Paschal Donohoe has insisted the measure will raise €376m for the exchequer – however the opposition has questioned that calculation.

He said the figures came from the Revenue Commissioner, adding that he had also double checked them with his department.

Earlier this year, the commissioners found themselves in the dock over calculation regarding USC – however Minister Donohoe insisted there is no question mark over the budget figures.

He insisted the measure will not dampen down activity in the housing sector as the homelessness crisis continues.

Stamp duty was reduced from a high of 9% to 2% after the economic crash and Minister Donohoe said it is now time to begin reversing that change as the sector recovers.

He said the measure would remove some of the exchequer’s reliance on personal taxation.

Lack of transparency

Meanwhile budget analysis from Social Justice Ireland (SJI) has claimed the figures provided by the government lack transparency.

The think tank warned the USC reductions will give those on higher pay five times the benefit received by people on lower salaries.

It said a single person earning €25,000 gains €65 euro per annum while a single person on €75,000 gains almost €328.

Housing and health crises

It also warned that the level of spending on housing and health will not address the crises in either sector.

SJI director Fr Sean Healy said the Government’s plan lacks ambition:

“Irish people today are facing grave and persistent challenges in homelessness, in poverty and across a whole range of other issues,” he said.

“What we got in response is a budget that is focused on low tax, low investment and low ambition.”

The budget will be questioned further by party leaders in the Dáil this morning.