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No Pre-Budget Submission for Consumers

In the past few weeks and months, many different organisations have been making “pre-budget submissions” to Minister Brian Lenihan prior to his October 14th budget. After a quick Google, there are at least 40 organisations who’ve made such a submission.

In the course of our day to day consumer activities, many of the businesses and organisations on the other side of the counter, or those that we must hand over our cash to for goods and services, have all let Minister Lenihan know their Budget “wish list” for 2009 .

Yet no one has made a submission on our behalf, on behalf of us, the Irish consumer.

No one has submitted a consumer “wish list” for 2009. We’re probably going to be subjected to one of the toughest budgets for decades on October 14th, but no one has stood up and told Minister Lenihan what we want, and don’t want, for 2009.

So, lets start here. From today until Friday, we’ll gather the consumer “wish list” for Budget 2009. I’ll then compile the full list of suggestions as the Irish consumers “pre-budget submission” and send on to Minister Lenihan.

What can you do? Post a comment below, or e-mail us at the contact address above, with your consumer related suggestions that you think should be included in the budget. Please also let others know. Bloggers, please share with your own readers. We’ll try to get as many suggestions as possible.

8 comments On No Pre-Budget Submission for Consumers

  • I’ll go first then:

    I don’t really care what happens the National Consumer Agency – it can stay as it is at the moment or it can revert to the Office of Director of Consumer Affairs as it used to be within the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, but here’s my wish list with regards to consumer legislation and protection for 2009:

    Firstly, cut the current expenditure and save costs:

    1. By getting rid of the pointless board of directors that the NCA pays for, in my opinion, doing not a whole lot.

    2. By stopping the ridiculous consumer price surveys that are being carried out still. Fine, we get the point, Lidl and Aldi are cheaper, and it’s cheaper up north. We get it now. And we don’t need further surveys telling us that we get it.

    3. By putting me in charge of the National Consumer Agency. I’ll settle for half of the salary of Ann Fitzgerald and will actually “put consumers first”.

    4. By stopping getting involved in areas that are not under the remit of the agency – such as property management which is technically the responsibility of the NPSRA (however useless that might be).

    Secondly, use the legislation currently in place to increase the revenue of the NCA:

    4. If Gardai have (allegedly) targets for points and fines to issue in a month, why can’t the NCA have targets for monthly revenue from fines imposed by catching and prosecuting wayward businesses who victimise consumers by breaching consumer legislation.

    5. Instead of “working with” businesses that are proven to breach consumer legislation, throw the book at them and fine them the maximum possible. This will discourage such practices, vastly more than letting them off with a promise to behave.

    More to follow!

  • 1. I think the NCA should be split into two parts.
    A section as part of DETE which advises and helps businesses understand and comply with the law.

    A separate Independent section whose only function is to represent consumers. Key requirements is to start implementing the legislation and prosecuting offenders so that business takes consumer law seriously.

    2. Abolish the CAI, its a waste of space. Apart from a monthly magazine which is from another era it doesn’t seem to do anything except waffle about anything that the media needs a quote on.

    3.Abolish the 40 credit card tax for consumers. Let the bloody banks pay and ensure it is not passed on. it’s the least the banks can do for consumers.

    4. Change VRT at present it’s just a way for SIMI to control prices. Who ever heard of tax which is calculated by the supplier. A fixed charge like VAT based on certified invoice would put real competition in the second biggest purchase in most of our lives.

    5. Windfall tax on the Oil companies in Ireland. Watch how fast prices at the pumps rise and how slowly they fall.

    That’s a start

  • Paddy says split NCA and abolish CAI. I’d abolish both of them – both a waste of space. Shocking that CAI cant even be bothered to make a budget submission. Ok submissions get ignored but you have to make the effort. I read that celia Larkin, Eddie Hobbs et al get €14,000 pa + expenses for sitting on NCA Board. Nice work if you can get it. That’s almost as much as someone working full-time on the minimum wage!

  • @Paddy19 – I'm with you on 1 and 3. With regards to 4, my preference would be to abolish VRT completely and to increase the tax on petrol instead. By doing that, you're in a "pay per use" tax which is much fairer than the current VRT regime.

    I can't comment on point 5, as I don't know too much about what's going on with regards to the Irish oil companies.

    @Paddy19 & Anonymous – Calm down on the CAI slagging! The CAI is a completely independent organisation that is outside of the control of the government and Minister for Finance. It isn't within his remit to close it down.

    As per my post yesterday, the CAI gets an annual budget of about €60,000 per year. The best, should he want to save money, Minister Lenihan could do would be to stop that money.

    But think about it, if you assume a 250 working day per year, and an 8 hour working day, the CAI budget from the Department of Enterprise Trade & Employment is the equivalent to the cost of running FAS for 7 minutes.

    @Anonymous – for receiving €14,000 each per year, you'd have thought that the National Consumer Agency board could at least have put aside a few minutes at a recent meeting to put together a submission.

    But wasn't that one of the reasons we all had concerns about the validity of the NCA claims to actually represent consumers when it's actually an arm of the government. Ironic really that after the success of the Rip Off Republic tv programme where Eddie Hobbs had a significant cut at the government for being responsible for many problems of consumers, he's now become one of them as part of the NCA.

  • i have a few things that i’d like to see not done, but i suppose i may as well go whistle if i think that the blundering brians are going to listen to us.

    the normal joe schmoes shouldn’t be subjected to any tax rises to make up for screw ups by other idoits in the country through wasting money, falling stamp duty or other tax revenues, or through increased costs.

    through all the good times we’ve quietly gone about doing our own thing so why now in the bad times should we be made suffer because of the fuck ups of property developers, banks, or the government.

    in fact, i want the government to give me more money. if money is so tight everywhere, why not start a new ssia scheme for people. that’d get money into the banks.

    i also think that we should be getting better public transport now since the price of petrol is getting out of control – and that’s even before the other fool here decided they wanted petrol increased even more. i also think that the labour party proposal at the last election should be taken on – standard fares on the busses and trains. €1 on dublin bus, €2 on the luas, and €3 on the dart for example (them rich bastards in howth, malahide and greystones can afford that)

  • I think its shocking that neither body saw fit to submit anything about what consumers will need in the brand new dawn he is about to reveal.

    What is the point of having any of these bodies / quangos / talking shops / junketeers if they are not going to do the very basic job of representing the interests of their ‘constituency’ to the powers that be -that they actually have access too (thats surely why they are there – to influence).

    I hope Brian the Brave will do the right thing and divert the cash thats propping up these jobs for the boys to more worthy causes – hard-pressed small business owners, householders up to their eyes in debt and the newly jobless.

    There, i feel better i’ve got that off my chest now – keep up the good work VI!!!

  • What a pointless exercies? Do you really think that Brian Lenihen is going to listen to a blogger?

    He would more than likely have ignored anything the National Consumer Agency was going to say anyway (especially if it only involved “please please please don’t shut us down”).

    And he’d definitely have ignored the consumers assocaition.

    So good luck with your blogger submission!

  • here are my suggestions: they may not be DIRECTLY consumer -affairs relatedbut here goes:
    1. cut all wages for civil and public serviceemployees earning over €80,000 by 10%, and that includes T.D.s and ministers.
    2. charge full p.r.s.i. on all earnings of the higher paid.
    3. get rid of at least 70% of all qwangos and make theit employees redundant.
    4. get rid of a load of duplicate semi-state Boards; as an example why do we need all of the following: Enterprise ireland, Shannon development,Wesrern development, Uduras whatever,county enterprise, etc,etc.

    5. just for the consumer, remove the 2% levy on insurance policies which is with us now for ????years, thanks to the inefficiency of A.I.B.

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