Budget 2010 as Ireland's total tax-take plummets towards a record low. As Ireland faces a range of interrelated crises and Government prepares its Budget for 2010 it is important to realise that:
· Ireland is not a poor country;
· Ireland’s total tax-take is one of the lowest in the developed world and continues to fall as a percentage of GDP;
· 15.8% of people are at risk of poverty with incomes below €12,000 for a single person or €28,000 for a family of four;
· 31% of all the households at risk of poverty today are headed by a person with a job.
· A further 50% are headed by a person outside the labour force (i.e. older people and people who are ill, have a serious disability or are in caring roles) and are totally dependent on social welfare.
· It is both essential and possible to protect the vulnerable in the choices Government makes;
· An integrated approach to tackling the country’s current problems is essential if they are to be addressed successfully.
An integrated approach requires Government to
1. Increase the over-all tax take while keeping Ireland a low-tax country and without raising income tax rates;
2. Secure better value for money in the delivery of our public services;
3. Reform the public sector;
4. Target expenditure cuts where required but ensure that vulnerable people are protected. A good starting point would be the elimination of waste identified in the Comptroller and Auditor General’s recent report;
5. Focus expenditure on the common good to provide required infrastructure and public services.
Ireland is at a critical moment in its development and Government decisions in Budget 2010 will have a huge impact on the future. It is essential that the vulnerable are protected.
Budget Choices Document can be downloaded here