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Tinkering Around the Edges – Budget 2009

That’s about the sum total of my thoughts on Budget 2009 from Brian Lenihan. Lots of messing around here and there, but nothing that really stands out as addressing the causes, or resolving the impact, of the problems that we’re faced with.

With regards to state agencies, you may have heard that the plan is to:

proceed with 30 rationalisation proposals that will reduce the number of bodies by 41, streamline functions in 3 areas and rationalise the army barracks structure bringing it more into line with operational requirements and permitting economies of scale.

This does mean that the National Consumer Agency will be merged with the Competition Authority. There’s no further details on what the implications of this will be. Still – let the Celebrity Death Match between Ann Fitzgerald and Bill Prasifka begin. The winner gets to look after the consumers interests.

Suffice to say that in the short term, it won’t actually mean a whole lot anyway, and it’s unlikely to really save any money in the long term. Job losses? Hardly. Cost reductions? Unlikely. All we can hope for is that the interests of consumers are better served by the amalgamation of two useless regulators into one. We’ll see if two wrongs with regards to consumer affairs can actually make a single right.

Possibly the most interesting aspect of this decision is the fact that the National Consumer Agency was longer an interim (a pretend, powerless) organisation that it was an acutual properly functioning agency. It was announced in 2005, received statutory powers in 2007, and is now slated for amalgamation in 2008.

Isn’t that a damning indictment of the uselessness of the agency itself, and a perfect illustration of the complete failure of this governments policies and actions in looking after Irish consumers?

2 comments On Tinkering Around the Edges – Budget 2009

  • Yes, tinkering. no effort to get some dosh from tax exiles like Bono and Denis O'Brien. he could have drastically reduced the time you are allowed to spend in ireland without being declared tax resident here.

    Instead he puts 1% levies on all income except social welfare benefits. Some self employed people have lower incomes than those on benefit yet they have to pay the levy. This government has made capital out of the fact that 34% of workers are not liable for tax due to their tax lowering policies. Now ministers (eg Harney) have made it a negative – they have to pay their share and 1% is not 'unreasonable.' Pass the sick bag.

    And he taxes the sick. Monthly drug charges up, reduction in tax relief for medical expenses (some costs weren't allowed anyway), A & E charges up 50% (almost same charge as in private hospital Beacon!), medical cards taken off the over 70s who were the ones who paid the high taxes in the 1970s, 1980s etc. how much will it cost to means test these senior citizens – will they take on MORE civil servants to do it?

    And I read today that Ministers pensions will be based on their official salary rather than after the 10% pay cut they are supposed to be taking. Who will check that they actually take it?

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