Ireland’s Austerity Budgets
13 December 2013
Posted by: Author: Colin Gleeson
Author: Colin Gleeson (The Irish Times)
October 14th, 2008
weeks after the blanket bank guarantee, the true extent of the financial
crisis facing the State began to crystalise. Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan announced measures designed to raise an extra €2bn in taxation and to make savings of €1bn in public spending.
one per cent levy was introduced on income up to €100,100 rising to two
per cent on salaries over that amount. The standard rate of VAT was
increased from 21 to 21.5 per cent. The tax on petrol rose by eight cent
a litre. Duty on a standard bottle of wine went up by 50 cent.
€200 charge on all non-principal private residences was introduced,
which the Government said would be used to fund the work of local
Automatic entitlement to a medical card is ended for people over 70.
Emergency Budget 2010
April 7th, 2009
April, the government announced its second budget in six months . Mr
Lenihan told the Dáil that stabilising the public finances was "most
urgent”. He announced measures to raise €1.8bn in taxes and cut spending
The Government announced its plans for a National Asset Management Agency (Nama) designed to take toxic assets off the balance sheets of banks.
income levy introduced in October was doubled and the thresholds at
which it is charged were reduced. The jobseeker’s allowance for
under-20s was halved to €100 a week.
Excise on auto-diesel increased by 5 cent a litre and the charge on a packet of 20 cigarettes is increased by 25 cent.
December 9th, 2009
servants and social welfare recipients bear the brunt of the €4 billion
in spending cuts announced by Mr Lenihan who said the country was on
the road to economic recovery: "We have turned the corner.”
budget includes cuts of more than €1 billion in public service pay, a
reduction of €760 million in social welfare, just under €1 billion on
day-to-day spending and the same amount on capital projects.
servants faced a cut of 5 per cent on the first €30,000 of salary, 7.5
per cent on the next €40,000 and 10 per cent on the next €55,000. Social
welfare recipients faced an average reduction of 4.1 per cent with
those under 25 experiencing much more substantial cuts.
benefit was cut by €16 a month with families on social welfare
compensated through an increase of €3.80 a week in the qualified child
In an effort to curb cross-border
shopping, Mr Lenihan reduced excise duty on alcohol. He also announced a
reversal of the half per cent increase in VAT imposed in Budget 2009.
December 7th, 2010
budget at the end of 2010 sees the Government make a further fiscal
adjustment of €6bn. Most workers faced substantial tax increases. Some
lower-paid workers were brought into the tax net for the first time.
budget hits taxpayers hard through a cut of 10 per cent in the tax
credits and bands, a new consolidated social charge of 7 per cent and
the abolition of the PRSI ceiling.
There were cuts
in the childcare allowance and increases in third-level college
registration fees. The unemployed will have a cut of €8 a week in their
benefits, while a similar cut also applies to the carers and disability
allowance. A couple with three children and a household income of
€75,000 who contribute €4,500 to their pension pot annually saw their
net income fall by €1,815 in Budget 2011.
Pensioners were one of the few groups to remain unscathed, with no change in the State pension.
Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan
said the Budget was the product of "a puppet Government who are doing
what they have been told to do by the IMF, the EU Commission and the
European Central Bank”.
December 5-6th, 2011
2012 is the first budget of the new Fine Gael-Labour coalition. Also,
for the first time, the budget is split between two departments: Finance
and the newly formed Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.
Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin
announced measures to cut public spending by €2.2bn. Minister for
Finance Michael Noonan’s tax hikes of €1.6bn bring the overall
adjustment to €3.8bn.
The payment for third and subsequent children is cut
from up to €177 to €140 a month over the next two years. The back to
school allowance is scrapped for two and three-year-olds and payments
are reduced for all eligible children.
threshold for the Drug Payment Scheme goes up to €132 a month, an
increase of €12. Third-level registration fees increased by €250 to
€2,250. The anticipated household charge of €100 was also announced.
A range of increases in indirect and capital taxes were announced. The higher rate of VAT rose by two points to 23 per cent.
The pay threshold at which workers are exempt from the universal social charge rose from €4,004 to €10,036.
December 5th, 2012
overall fiscal adjustment of €3.5 billion meant almost every adult in
the State was hit by a range of measures including a property tax,
reduced child benefit, extended PRSI and cuts in the entitlements for
There were also increases in excise
duty on alcohol and cigarettes, motor taxes, the student registration
charge and Dirt tax on savings.
Two of the more
controversial measures were a cut to the respite care grant, and the
treatment of maternity benefit as taxable income.
carer’s grant was reduced by €325 to €1,375 per annum. Excise duty went
up by 10 cent on pints of beer and cider and measures of spirits, and
by €1 on a bottle of wine.
Motor tax roses by between €10 and €126. A €10 a month reduction in child benefit was also announced.
October 15th, 2013
A fiscal adjustment of €2.5bn was announced in a budget that included a €500 million jobs stimulus package.
measures were intended by the Government to pave the way for the end of
austerity. They included a wide range of spending cuts and
revenue-raising measures rather than any major change in the tax or
Eligibility limits for medical
card holders were tightened, prescription charges were increased and
maternity benefit was reduced.
There was also a
reduction in the income threshold for medical cards for the over-70s,
the telephone allowance was ended, and the bereavement grant was
Beer, spirits and cigarettes went up by 10 cent, while the price of a bottle of wine increases by 50 cent.
GP care for all children aged five and under was introduced at cost of
€37 million. Payments for 22- to 24- year-old jobseekers fell from €144
to €100 a week, while 25-year- olds got €144 a week instead of €188.
This article first appeared in irishtimes.com.