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Ireland Budget Brian Cowen Finances 2007

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Irish Business News Discussion:     Ireland Budget Brian Cowen Finances 2007

Irish Finance Minister Brian Cowen yesterday unveiled his Budget

Budget 2007 will see the ceiling on mortgage interest relief for first-time buyers being doubled to €8,000 for a single person and €16,000 for a married couple.

The Irish budget 2007 Main Points

• Top rate of income tax cut by one percentage point to 41 per cent.

• Personal tax credit increased by €130 to €1,760 for a single person and by €260 a year to €3,520 for married couples.

• The 20 per cent standard income tax band widened by €2,000 per year to €34,000 for single person and €43,000 for married one-earner couples.

• Health levy increased by 0.5 of a percentage point to 2.5 per cent for earnings in excess of €100,100 a year.

• Stamp duty thresholds unchanged but mortgage interest relief for first-time buyers doubled.

• Contributory old age pension increased by €16 a week to €209.30. Non-contributory pension increases to €200

• Child benefit increased by €10 a month per child.

• Lowest adult rate of social welfare increased by €20 a month to €185.80.

• Business Expansion and Seed Capital Schemes extended for seven years.

• Charges for private beds in public hospitals increased by 25 per cent to fund service for elderly.

• Duty on packet of 20 cigarettes increased by 50 cent from midnight. Restrictions on the sale of packets of less than 20 cigarettes.


Political reaction to Minister for Finance Brian Cowen's Budget Speech has been mixed.

The Tanaiste and Progressive Democrats leader, Michael McDowell, has described Budget 2007 as a 'historic Budget and one in which the Irish people can rightly take pride'. McDowell insisted that the Budget is 'very attractive' from the PD perspective and denied that his party had lost out over stamp duty.

Tax changes favour the few, says Rabbitte
Commenting on the tax changes in the Budget, Labour leader Pat Rabbitte said FF has once again decided to 'disproportionately favour the super-wealthy few, rather than the hardworking many.'

Budget did not delived for ordinary family, says Bruton
Fine Gael's Deputy leader and spokesman on Finance, Richard Bruton, accused the Government of attempting 'to produce a flashy appearance' with this Budget, 'to hide the reality'. The Deputy went on to say that this was the first Government to raise more in VAT than in Income Tax and he accused the Govt of reneging on a promise to a quarter of a million taxpayers to take them out of the top tax paying bracket.

FG Justice Spokesman Jim O'Keeffe said the zero reference to crime in the Budget, and the lack of any new initiative to tackle gangland, shows that the Government has conceded failure in the fight against crime.

Green Party, Sinn Fιin and Independents react
Social justice would have been better served by cutting VAT - which is paid by the entire population - rather than the top rate of income tax, according to the Green Party.

While welcoming a number of Minister Cowen's proposals, Sinn Fιin's Caoimhghνn Σ Caolαin said Mr Cowen 'had the opportunity and the resources to lift many citizens out of poverty but stopped far short of what was possible and what was required'.

Speaking for the Independents, Tony Gregory criticised the Government for not freezing the cost of building land. Mr Gregory said that many of the social welfare increases, especially those for the elderly would be spent on more expensive energy.

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