This year’s budget was hailed as one that would increase the quality of life for some of the most vulnerable in Irish society, but not everyone is convinced.
Yesterday saw the government deliver Budget 2024 to a predictably mixed reaction, with some hailing it as a budget that will ‘help the most in need’, while others seeing it as cynical and low-effort.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has insisted that the budget was designed to offer relief to the lowest paid in society, including €12 increases to social welfare payments; a range of once-off cost-of-living payments; and temporary tax reliefs to assist small landlords.
Mr. Varadkar stated that the tax relief was designed to keep small landlords in the market, as they are the most likely to leave.
Local senator Pat Casey said “This is a significant Budget of progressive and protective measures which further supports individuals, families and businesses both nationally and here in our local community at a time when the cost of living is high, while strengthening public services on which we all depend. Budget 2024 also focuses on investing in the infrastructure we need for the future, including the largest home building programme for many decades.
It will include a €2.7 billion cost of living package among a €14 billion budget that will deliver real help for people while preparing us for the future.”
However, Sinn Féin’s finances spokesman, Pearse Doherty, lambasted it as a “budget for landlords” and a “squandered opportunity”. He went on to say “Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil have caused the housing crisis and today’s budget is further confirmation that they are not the ones to fix it.”
Social Democrats TD Jennifer Whitmore called the government out on their ‘lack of ambition for families’. Ms. Whitmore said “After months of uncertainity over pormised cuts to childcare costs, it is welcome that the firther 25% reduction is now confirmed.
“However, it has emerged that this measure will not be introduced until September 2024, which is completely unacceptable.”
Labour TD Ged Nash, with almost poetic prose, referred to this year’s budget as one that “will yet again be found to be regressive once lump sums melt away like snow on a ditch.”
With officials all over the country having their say on the implications of Budget 2024, the overall messaage from critics is Budget 2024 should have done more to address the housing crisis. However, the long term benefits, as well as the drawbacks, will become more evident as the months roll in.