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Financial Resolution No. 5: Excise (Continued)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 2

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Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett We have been consistent on these matters because we provided an alternative. As I tried to explain to the Taoiseach and the Tánaiste earlier, none of these cuts would be necessary if they enforced the 12.5% corporate tax rate on the multinationals which are making tens of billions in profits and walking away with the loot.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes And lose jobs.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett That is our alternative.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe The Deputy is even making Deputy McDonald laugh.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Alternatively, if it had imposed a fair and progressive income tax on those earning over €100,000, as we explained in our pre-budget submission, the Government could have raised €2.5 billion. It would not have needed to impose these cuts or attack families; it could have done it fairly and had money left over to fund a jobs programme.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív I want to deal first with the issue of the unregistered VAT. I will be told that this is a small cut but it is €18 million out of the pockets of small farmers.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes Out of every farmer's pocket. That is your spin.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív Yes, except the very large-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will Deputies please speak through the Chair? If the Deputy wants to speak I will call him later.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes The Deputy should tell the truth.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív The very big farmers who are registered for VAT do not come under this and if Deputy Hayes listened to what-----

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes Big and small. The Deputy should know about that. I can understand Sinn Féin not knowing it but not the Deputy.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Will Deputies please assist the Chair? There is a limited amount of time.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes Okay, but we like to have the facts.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív It was the Taoiseach-----

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I have five or six other speakers offering and there are about 18 minutes left. Would Deputies please co-operate with the Chair? Thank you.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív It was the Taoiseach who made that point. It is extraordinary that this cut is being imposed in a year of unprecedented bad weather. One might say it is not a big cut but when it is added to the other cuts, and particularly to the cut in the farm assist scheme, one begins to see the cumulative effect of the changes in this budget.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe If you had your way there would be no farmers left.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív I will explain the amount being lost in the farm assist scheme. For example, if a single person or a couple with no children had income from the farm of €100 they will have lost €30 under the previous two budgets and they now find that 100% of the income from the farm has been taken off them. For a married couple with four children who are getting €10,000 a year from the farm the cut is €72, and if their income is double that the cut is €132 a week. I know the Deputy's calculation is quite simple - there are only 1,400 of them, so they do not count because they are in rural Ireland and they probably do not vote Labour anyway. These are real families who need means-tested payments.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes They did not vote for Fianna Fáil the previous time.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív Deputy Hayes should not forget that I set up the rural social scheme and eliminated that problem.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe And your party broke the country.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív If the Minister expanded the rural social scheme it would resolve a lot of this problem too.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe Zoom on Paul Kehoe Your party broke the country.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív In terms of understanding and working on these issues, when the €80 million is added to this further cut and to other cuts the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine has announced this evening, one can understand the impact on farm families.

It is interesting that although the Minister made great play about some tax breaks he was giving to larger farmers, when one looked at the figures one could see that even those farmers were not getting anything because there is no figure in the budget for the cost of that tax break. This is a tax break without a cost and a tax break without a cost is not a tax break because nobody can benefit from it. It is what is known in mathematical terms as the null set; it exists but there is nothing in it.

I am delighted that the Government is moving against off-road vehicles because it was one of the most abused aspects of Irish society. I agree with that change. It is overdue and it is a change we should have made when we were in Government. I often asked that it be made. I compliment the Government on moving on that issue and it has my support.

Unlike the Deputy from Sinn Féin, I believe VRT is a reasonably fair tax. One is not obliged to buy a new car and one is not obliged to buy a big new car. I would much prefer that as a tax-----

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh You are if you have a big family.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív You do not have to buy a big new car.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett Deputy, would you ignore the comments and speak through the Chair please?

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív One has much more discretion about that than a tax on one's house. When we talk about the cross-Border aspect, therefore, we must not forget that if one pays the VRT on this side of the Border, at least one can buy a big second-hand car or a smaller car if one does not need a big car. However, if one lives on the other side of the Border under Sinn Féin one will be paying between €1,000 and €2,000 a year just to own a house.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh That is not true.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Information on Mary Lou McDonald Zoom on Mary Lou McDonald No, Éamon.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív That is a fact.

Deputy Tom Hayes: Information on Tom Hayes Zoom on Tom Hayes Now. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh: Information on Aengus Ó Snodaigh Zoom on Aengus Ó Snodaigh It is not.

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Seán Barrett Zoom on Seán Barrett I ask Members to be conscious of the time, please.

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív I want to make a final point. When we introduced the change in the rates of taxation for energy-efficient cars it was not foreseen that the industry would change so rapidly and that there would be so much loss of revenue. I accept, therefore, that something must be done to adjust that, but I ask the Tánaiste to examine the issue of older cars because we now have a situation in which there is a large difference in tax between two different 1.9-litre cars. Raising the tax on the older cars - many people cannot afford new cars - is a disproportionate hit on those who are less well off. There was a case, therefore, for narrowing but not eliminating the gap-----

(Interruptions).

Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív: Information on Éamon Ó Cuív Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív -----particularly on bigger new cars and bigger older cars because, for those who have a 1.6-litre or a 1.9-litre car, €690 per year is a considerable burden. Many of those people cannot afford to buy the new energy-efficient cars. That is something the Government should seriously consider.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy I too want to record that I would rather have voted for Financial Resolution No. 1 than Financial Resolution No. 2, despite Deputy Stagg's desire that I might vote in favour of Financial Resolution No. 2 to ensure he will not have to pay a fortune on cigarettes.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg Thanks very much, Catherine.

Deputy Eamon Gilmore: Information on Eamon Gilmore Zoom on Eamon Gilmore Very touching.

Deputy Catherine Murphy: Information on Catherine Murphy Zoom on Catherine Murphy This has been a successful strategy in terms of the choices people make. It was positive from an environmental point of view also. Essentially, this is being changed because it has been successful. It is unfortunate, because people will feel cheated by that change.

Something that is noticeable in any car park - I am prone to noticing this - is the number of cars that predate 2008, because people have not been in a position to upgrade. There are fewer cars on the road and that is part of the reason for the reduction in motor taxation. People have become very price-conscious and many are selling the second car, but they are being caught every way in that respect. If they want to change to a more cost-efficient car they will be paying the VRT. These are sizeable increases at a time when people, particularly those with older cars, are struggling. We are back to the point at which people are starting to talk about the number of kilometres they can get from a litre of petrol. Everyone has become very conscious of the cost of travelling to work and often they limit their journeys because of the cost. The motor tax increase will be a serious imposition on many ordinary families, particularly those with older cars who cannot change the size of the car to reduce the amount of motor tax they will pay.

Deputy Denis Naughten: Information on Denis Naughten Zoom on Denis Naughten I want to speak on Financial Resolution No. 4 and the changes to agricultural relief.


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