It’s been over two months since they were announced but only yesterday did some of the seriously contentious issues of Budget 2014 become reality.
Here’s a look at some of the measures which come into effect from 1st January 2014:
- Telephone allowance scrapped – This will impact on every elderly person in the state and others receiving the benefit through carers allowance. This allowance was never a luxury and many elderly people rely on the land line as their security system should something go wrong.
- Bereavement Grant abolished – Previously a grant of €850 was available to assist with funeral expenses on the death of a loved one. This small comfort at a time in need is now gone.
- DIRT raised to 41% – tax on savings increases to a penal 41% as and from January 1st 2014.
- Job Seekers slashed for under 25’s – From January 15th job seekers aged 18-24 will see the allowance level drop from €144 per week to €100. This is an appalling attack on young unemployed and shows how out of touch this government really are with the problems facing young people.
- Pension Levy “Abolished” eventually (but increased until then!!) – A remarkably cynical word play. Minister Noonan announced that the pension levy of 0.6% would be “abolished” by 2015 but that in the meantime the rate would increase to 0.75%. Serious questions remain over the spending of this money as Michael McGrath revealed that not all the money raised is going toward job creation projects as was initially promised by government.
- One Parent Family credit gone – Previously where a separated couple shared parenting responsibilities, each was entitled to a tax credit of €1650. As of Jan 1st only the main carer will be eligible. As the principle carer is usually the child’s Mother, and she may not be working, these changes mean that in many cases neither parent will now meet the specified criteria. In Ireland, 1 in 5 children live in a one parent family. Ultimately it is the children who will be impacted with less money to go around.
- Reduction in Child benefit – for the fourth and subsequent child the rate of child benefit has been reduced by €10.
- Further Reduced Maternity Benefits – In July 2013 the government introduced tax at the marginal rate on maternity benefit, taking up to €108 a week out of the pockets of new mothers. From January 6th the Government is taking another €32 a week out of those same women’s pockets. This measure is extremely unfair and completely anti-women.
While the government parties have continued to herald the departure of the Troika, they play down the impact their cuts are having on the weakest and most vulnerable in our society.
So it’s “Happy New Year” from the government…as long as you’re not young, old, a parent, unemployed, sick, pregnant, saving…