Thursday, 25 November 2010

'National Recovery Plan' to hit poorly paid the hardest

Today I can report that notwithstanding the difficulties of the last eight months, we are now on the road to economic recovery… our plan is working. We have turned the corner”.
Brian Lenihan. December 9th, 2009.

Since his appointment as minister for finance in May, 2008, Brian Lenihan has been the source of countless upbeat, Comical Ali-style, statements on the economy.

He even provoked guffaws in the British House of Commons some months back when the above statement was quoted. Yesterday he claimed the Government’s “National Recovery Plan” was necessary to pull the country out of “the steep downturn”.

The main targets of the plan will be the lowly paid. The minimum wage will drop by 11.5%, while the dole will drop by 5% - further disincentivising work for badly paid people.

According to a freesheet from the Socialist Party that dropped through the letterbox, Combat Poverty maintains that 94,000 working households already live in consistent poverty in Ireland, with 350,000 “at risk” of poverty. There will be even more doing so after this establishment attack on the softest, most undeserving, of targets.

Nobody who reads the blog will be too surprised to learn that politicians’, top civil servants’, and judges’ pay will remain untouched. Similarly, Microsoft, Google, Intel and all the rest will not be asked to contribute any extra taxes to the Irish exchequer.

“It is time for us to pull together as a people”, the Two Brians said in justification of their measures.

When they are turfed out of office in the next election a career in stand-up awaits.

MAIN POINTS OF PLAN (from RTE website):

The minimum wage is to be reduced by €1 an hour to €7.65 an hour, while a review of registered employment agreements will also take place.

VAT from 21% to 22% in 2013, with a further increase to 23% in 2014.

People to enter tax net at €15,300 a year by 2014.

Phased reduction in the tax relief on pensions for those on the higher rate of tax. Reduced by 2014 to relief at the standard rate of 20%.

The corporation tax rate will remain unchanged at 12.5%.

Lower rate on labour intensive services will be left unchanged as any increase could harm employment.

Phased abolition of legacy capital tax reliefs (in line with Programme for Government) over the four years. There will be a further abolition of ten reliefs in Budget 2011, including trade union subscriptions.

Income tax relief for rent paid on private rented accommodation is to be phased out on the same timeline as mortgage interest reliefs - by 2017.

Six more tax reliefs are to be curtailed, including the artists' exemption.

Spending on social welfare is to be reduced by 14% over the four-year period, with cuts of around 5% next year, though the details are being left until Budget day.

Public service job numbers will fall by 24,750 from 2008 levels, cutting the public sector pay bill by €1.2 billion by 2014. New entrants to the public service also face a 10% pay cut.

There will also be deductions from current public service pensioners, ranging from 6% to 12%, though those below €12,000 a year will be exempt.

Plans to introduce water metering by 2014, while a site valuation tax to fund local services will also be introduced.

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hackaday said...

Dear Irish people!
Welcome to I.M.F. club. You are officially fucked up, big time! I am an unknown and unemployed Greek blogger and I think you need some nice words in these hard times you have. How do I know that? 'Cause I am palaiouras (old member) in I.M.F. club. Thank God our prime minister (a.k.a. G.A.P.) took care of it. So, as I said you need some beautiful words to heal the pain. Sorry! There are no nice words to make you feel a bit better. You are completely and totally fucked up like we (Greeks) are and like very soon Spanish, Portuguese and Italians will be.
Don 't worry. It 's like having sex in the ass. The very first time you will suffer but day by day, month by month and year by year you will be used to it. Who knows? Maybe one day you will ask for it, like many Greeks do nowdays! Imagine it like some kinky fashion. You will ask for help from E.U. and you will get it. The only thing you have to do to get this help is to forget that you are Irish and human. After you will get into Mnimonium (a.k.a. memorandum) era like we did here in Greece for approximately 60 years. Not big deal! Who knows? Maybe with the whole new situation you will have a reunion with northern Irland as a British colony. You will lose your jobs, your sallaries are gonna be decreased, you will not have money for the basics, your country dept will be increased etc. With one phrase we can say that you are in the very deep shit!
Well, maybe I should stop fooling around with the Irish financial situation. I am sorry if my humor was not so good but you see here in Greece the only weapon we have is humor. We don 't have anything else. No decency, no responsibillity, no dignity. We have some of the most corrupted and arrogant politicians of the world. Trust me! Your politicians are saints. We don 't have the guts to get rid of them. We had the opportunity but we didn 't. No rallies in the streets, no nothing. I believe and I hope you will have more courage than us to do the right thing. Let us be the example for you. When I say example I mean bad example (object lesson).
Allow me to describe you my reality. I lost my job and I really have no hopes for the future in Greece. I had dreams 'cause I am only 36. I cancelled my wedding three times because the money were never enough to do it. My fiance and I hope to have a family one day but we see that it 's almost impossible. As the days go by I see people I know and people who I don 't know, more miserable, more depressed in the streets to look for a way to escape from this bad situation but the only thing they find is a big nothing. Companies shut down. I give everywhere my CVs and I don 't get a phone call even to tell me they don 't need me. Taxes are getting increased more and more and the money I have are less and less day by day. I am studying in open university computer science because I wanna be something in my life. I want to be scientist. This is one of my dreams but I see that it 's gonna fade away because i can 't afford it. So, no job, no studies, no family, no dreams. What am I doing? I am not living, I 'm just existing and breathing.
Don 't do the same mistake that we did and we still do. I am one of the millions of greeks who pay the price. Which price? The price of the political arrogance, the price of the political irresponsibillity. There is no crisis. Everything is made up from the big countries of E.U. and not only, so they will get the natural wealth of the small countries for nothing.

I wish you the best

Harry said...

Don't worry Gombeen man - I've figured out a plan and everything is going to be all right. If you can think up of some groundbreaking ideas to get us out of this mess, let me know.

CD Duplication Services said...

There is a new group in the U.S. that started to push increase in taxation of those making over $250k per anum. The funny thing is, it's a group of millionaires that is behing the push. Can the Irish elite conceivably emulate such a noble pursuit?

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks Hackaday. Greetings from we suffering fools in Ireland to Greece. Glad to see you're actually where you say you're from too. All to rare in comments sometimes.

Harry, I reckon we should get Bertie back. Remember how great the economy was when he was in charge? ;-)

CD DS. No, I can't imagine that at all. Maybe Bono might step forward? Lol.

Anonymous said...

Laim Smullen [22:44]

in a not so related matter but related
matter, I expect Brian Ó Domhnaill of Fianna Fáil to win the Donegal South West by-election.
Why, because on a radio broadcast a few days ago
there was full beeping(the car horns)and cheering the Fianna Fáil candidate Brian Ó Domhnaill.
There was not the same arousing welcome given the
cradable candidate Frank McBrearty and Pearse Doherty.

The question is why?
Because if vote Frank McBrearty and Pearse Doherty they know get Enda Kenny and fine gael
in government(after a general election)and a plus a full blown austerity package.
The main priorities of the voters is not so much
the extremely expensive bank recapitalison (which
they oppose)but trying to avoid the austerity packages,at the moment this governent is also extremely weak there very easy manipulate or so they think.

The problem is the economic crises is likely to
strengten Fianna Fáil both in goverment for the time being and worst of all in opposition.

Right now I am too late posted this.

anna said...

I have a good job that = 6 yrs 3rd level education; but before this I did it all: factories, horticulture, catering, low paid clerical work, shop work- But if I lost my good job now, I would go back to the same jobs; why? friendship, a bit more pay, change to learn a few skills,,,even more important the chance to show an employer you are a worthwhile person and a go- getter- any employer will know that good jobs are hard to find so if you even had the stamina to get out and work in a cafe for a year while sending out your CVs, then you are a worthwhile person: Both UK and Ireland have a real problem with the 'working poor' and long term unemployed; 2 groups whose income levels are quite close. both countries are only ones in Europe with working poor. So shouldn't the working poor be given More in tax breaks, top up benefits, skills training etc, to make it worth while going to low paid jobs? And shouldn't low paid jobs be made more attractive long term unemployed?
Cutting the minimum wage is a BAD JOKE- why take money from those who can ill afford it?
I totally agree with GM man- readers of this blog will not be surprised that the pay of top civil servants, judges, hospital consultants etc will not be touched'...WHY NOT?????? ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE PAID FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE?
One foreigner said ( re clerical sex scandals) 'Irish people have no sense of Outrage' . This cut in minimum wage is also worthy of howls of outrage- even in the UK, the government would never dare make such a move,
How is it those who pocket the Biggest of public service salaries are never touched???? It's a Class Distinction worthy of Angela's Ashes. I am a public servant, I am single and happy with my pay ( 38,000, or 500 take home a week). This week I paid 300 for dental treatment. Now try paying for your own dental treatment and 3 children on a minimum wage- that has been Cut. And don't forget how Little you really get in free services compared to other EU countries: in NI my self and siblings All had FREE dental treatment till age 19- all children from ANY income level family got this as a right. Also free dental treatment to pregnant women.( and of course to the unemployed & students).So if you get 7.65 ph X 40 hrs = 306 euros...and Just One of your 3 children needs dental treatment...that's a single working mum & 3 kids on 6 euros a week for that week then! DISGRACEFUL- and dental work is only one large bill the working poor have- at those income levels winter fuel bills are enough to make you cry.

anna said...

THE WORKING POOR DID NOT CAUSE THIS RECESSION; maybe judges didn’t either( though as these are all part of a rich class that looks after each other and sees white collar crooks/ TDs don't go to jail, that's debatable) : SO it is staggering that the Minimum wage will be cut: What About Maximum Wages to publicly paid officials? Excessive and obscene wages? To those who don't even do a good job?? ( Look how come these 10 yr old tribunals never Actually jail anyone- but make barristers rich?)
There's no national feeling in many of our richest groups- has anyone heard of Irish judges / consultants etc, saying they will volunteer for a 50% pay cut in the National interest? A child's dental bill won't bother people with second homes in Tuscany either.
YES i am getting in a lather here!!! Cutting Minimum wages??? Shouldn’t MAXIMUM WAGES FROM THE PUBLIC PURSE BE CUT????
Well Xmas approaches, and often there are appeals in supermarkets, you know 'Buy an extra tin/ cake/ box of sweets etc and place in bin provided for a needy family'.
My Own Xmas appeal for needy minimum waged families: When next in supermarket buy a few extra packets Sunny Jim fire lighters and Peat briquettes, place in bin, for delivery to Dail.
There will be a special New Years Eve Event Toasting the New Republic ( and maybe the toes of a few deputies), The torch will be lit by the French Ambassador
(Revolutions 'sont' Nous), look they were late for 1798, but if they can help out now, great.....and when the ashes die down...a new republic will emerge : a nation where Irish people DO Have a sense of OUTRAGE it's the LACK of that which has held this country back for 90 years- if we had been rioting all along would a small % of bastards have got away with so much for so long??

Name Address

anna said...

I was in the sauna of my local council pool 1 year ago.
A middle aged man came in and began expounding : ( I think most of our dough was about to be given gratis to NAMA ).
‘I’m a language teacher,’ he said ’ I spent years in South Americas , I’ve lived under totalitarian regimes, I lived in Chile under Pinochet, but the Biggest Banana Republic I ever lived in was ….’
( Pause- can anyone guess??) … was this one!!’ he concluded.
I sighed deeply , refreshed and nourished by Having Someone Down Here Telling It As It Is. At Last I thought Irish people are waking up.
We got talking. ‘If This was Chile People would be out Rioting’ he said. Well it Worked for them: One thing I gleaned from recent Mining rescue is that Chile is now a genuinely socialist country.
And Ireland? The baffling thing about this country is the gutlessness of the people. There is fear and apathy- Yet unlike Chile and east Germany people never had to fear for their lives by protesting. Yet people behave like in the recent film on east Germany’ The Lives of others’ where friends were spied on by officials. They were also told to spy on Each other- or their careers would be ruined/ they’d go to jail/ their children taken into care. Ireland is baffling in that Irish people Won’t support each other- Even if no terrible sanctions will befall them for doing so. Even in a civil service office I once worked in the Principal officer wouldn’t tackle the middle level bullies ( whose boss she was!!) and said to victims, ‘Well it’s your fault!’ Gutlessness, and backstabbing and looking out for yourself only are national sports .
Anyway re my swimming pool acquaintance ; he said he hoped his south American accent was not too difficult ,’ I have just been away too long from…Belfast’ he said..
1) All That’s ever been missing in this country is Outrage; did the British pack it up and take it with them? THAT’S THE ONLY THING THAT DISTINGUISHES US FROM OTHER NATIONS; WE HAVE NO OUTRAGE; Other nations may have bastard politicians. / Crises- But other nations protest
2)Anyone who protests in Ireland wasn’t brought up here; they are English , from NI, USA, other EU, or have 1 parent not from here etc.
3)Our gene pool must be strengthened , to reinstall Outrage genes, therefore a positive policy of encouraging French people to come here, they’re champions at protesting, oh and a few Chileans as well.

The Gombeen Man said...

There is a very strange mentality here. "The Irish don't support each other", you say. I've noticed that on many levels. If you are coming towards a speed check in France, you'll be nearly blinded by French motorists flashing you in warning. Here? Maybe one car might... And if they perceive your car to be "nicer" than theirs, you might not even get one instance of motoring solidarity. "Ha, he's going to be caught! Serves him right" (At this point I'll stress I've no points on my licence. At the moment).

As far as punishing low wage workers goes, it is part of the convenient right-wing-economics-for-dummies strategy that got us into the shit we're in. Tax the poorly paid to keep them desperate, but don't tax the mega-earners as they are the "talent" and wealth creators and will flee the country if they are asked to pay more tax.

Infantile, facile... and convenient for the status quo. But what a laugh that anyone would actually subscribe to such a philosophy if they were not directly benefiting from it.

Let them flee then, but I think they will find nobody else would have them.

Pity our talented banking bosses and regulators weren't snapped up by someone else before they did their damage...

Oh - one tenet of the McDowell-McCreevy RWE For Dummies dogma that's been dropped is that reducing taxes can create a thriving economy.

These people are worthy only of contempt - they should leave the honest, hard working people alone and take the hit for the mess they have made.

anna said...

Sure- 1 note worthy comment I saw recently on Irish banking was that it was Remarkable how almost None of the 'creme de la creme' of Irish banking had Ever worked for large international banks- or had Ever worked Outside of Ireland.
Well now we can see well how our home grown experts have messed up our finances- basically using the criteria'Greed is good, and if it's good for me and my friends, that's all that matters' - no thought for the nation.
" We have found a new way of doing business!!!!!"-(Sean Fitzpatrick)
Irish banking must be completey reformed, with rigid controls, sackings, jailings- and a new hiring policy that gives extra points for years spent in banking abroad.

The Gombeen Man said...

Yes... the Irish elite tend to overestimate their own worth - be it in banking, business or broadcasting.

In the latter instance the high pay of RTE "stars" is justified by the threat of them being snapped up by the BBC or ITV.

Sure anyone with any talent had to bypass RTE anyhow, as it is a haven for the mediocre. Look at Wogan, for instance. Dermot Morgan.

The likes of Gerry Ryan (RIP and all that) only latched on to what was happening elsewhere and copied the formula. He did it well enough - but I don't think there was a danger of the headhunters queuing up.

Seems like a digression: but that seems to apply to most things here.

anna said...

In today’s Metro a letter writer called Fed Up Tax payer quotes Cowan as saying, 'Those who have the most, pay the most.!!'
FUT says, did he even listen to himself when he said that and suggests a pay cut of 50% for him. I amuse myself by wondering what job will Cowan do when the Great Purge come...well he is unemployable, so will have to make do on his pension. Metro letter writers are becoming more and more astute; here’s a girl from last week: We really have messed things up over the last 90 yrs, so as the British are among those giving us a bail out, why not ask them to take us back completely?’ She signed herself ’A Nation Once Again’ About 8-10 yrs ago I used to be dismayed by seeing small posters around Dublin marked ‘A United Ireland BY 2016. I thought there are Republican nuts who are into any kind of nonsensical symbolism. UI 2016 presupposes 1) That the First Irish Republic ACTUALLY WORKED,2) And heavily dependant on (1) working that Unionists would voluntarily go into it- after the wounds of of 30 years of war healed. Only last week an Ulster unionist commented that Sinn Fein in the North must be glad they hadn’t achieved UI- as the north and all its public services and economy would also be stuffed now as well as here if they had done- V true.Yes I know SF have most likely won in Donegal, all I can say is : congratulations Donegal for not blindly voting FF: well done SF for taking the Government to court for illegally denying the people an election: I don’t vote SF but I hope any new SF TD will remember that it’s the welfare of the beleaguered people who count rather than any nonsensical policies. So never mind sticking up any more posters for Tir Na Nog by 2016- and ask for a proper SOCILAIST 26 County republic to begin with- something we never had, and could start achieving by 2016.

To that end a BIG turnout is expected on tomorrows march,

Saturday 27th Starts 12.00 Wood Quay to the GPO.

Toothache keeps me away- but I intend to b e on every other one.
Arise citizens, this is our real rising.