The ongoing suggestions Budget 2024 will be a ‘giveaway budget’ bring back memories of Irish economic policy in the years before the crash, Shane Coleman has warned.
Reports this morning suggest the package announced next week will include social welfare increases of at least €12 per week and double payment of the Fuel Allowance at Christmas.
Cuts to the Universal Social Charge (USC) are also expected, alongside an increase to the point at which people pay the higher rate of income tax.
The tax credit for renters may also increase from €500 to €750.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning Shane Coleman said it is reminiscent of the budgets delivered in the years before the crash – warning that he has a “horrible fear it is all going to go wrong again the future”.
“I kind of had to check the date here just to make sure we weren't back in, sort of, 2006 and 2007, because there's a distinct sense of déjà vu about this,” he said.
“I mean, it's only 15 years after the crash when we said we'll never, ever repeat those mistakes and yet, here we are – and let's point the finger at ourselves here because every opinion poll wants to see cuts in taxes, increases in pensions, increases in social welfare, all at a time when the economy is on the verge of overheating; when it's at full capacity.
“All at a time when we're hugely dependent on one source of income - corporation tax - the way we were really dependent on one source of income - stamp duty - 15 years ago.
“It's like the crash never happened.”
He said Ireland has an “unbelievably narrow tax base” and warned that if anything happens to our corporation tax income, “we’re in serious trouble”.
The difference this time around, he said, is that we can’t blame the Government if it all goes wrong.
“Nobody is saying stop,” said Shane. “Like, there's nobody in the Oireachtas, there's nobody in the media [saying stop].”
Shane suggested many people remain largely unaffected by the cost-of-living crisis – even though he admits it is continuing to impact on the most vulnerable in society.
“I’d say there's not an hour goes by where somebody in the media doesn't refer to the cost-of-living crisis,” he said.
“Now, there are cost-of-living problems and a minority of people - of less well-off people - are really badly affected by that, but you only have to look at the number of people taking holidays, the number of people booking Taylor Swift concerts and so on, restaurants being full, [to see that] for lots of people, there's no cost-of-living crisis.
“Yet we in the media pander to that and I just have a horrible fear it is all going to go wrong again the future – and this time around we can't say we weren't warned.”
Budget 2024 will be announced in Leinster House next Tuesday, October 10th.