Thursday, 12 October 2017
Financial Resolutions 2018 - Financial Resolution No. 4: General (Resumed)
The increase in stamp duty on commercial property seems to be the cornerstone of the budget. It should generate €376 million and that figure is based on property transactions worth €9.4 billion. Why does the Government feel there will be this volume of transactions next year when only €4.5 billion worth of transactions was completed in 2016? The transitional arrangements need to be published without delay. Will it be the case that anybody who has entered an arrangement for a commercial property prior to this week will continue to pay the 2% duty? We do not know and full clarity must be provided on that. It has become apparent that the Government did not realise the impact this change will have on farming. That proves there remains an element within government that is Dublin centric in respect of policy making and does not take on board the effects policies will have on rural life. The people who will be mainly affected by the stamp duty increase are farmers who want to expand their businesses. They will be penalised but this could be addressed in the finance Bill.
There was nothing in the budget to support small businesses in our towns the length and breadth of the country. I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Catherine Byrne, to the House. She will recall that many months ago I raised the issue of the review of commercial rates and the valuation process, and the unfair, inequitable rates being levied on businesses in our small towns. She undertook to convey the issue to the then Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Fitzgerald, and she followed through on this but nothing has happened and our businesses are creaking at the seams. They need supports and there are none in the budget for them.
The Minister for Finance is quoted in today's newspaper as saying that one of the cuts introduced by Fine Gael and the Labour Party was "bonkers" and "unbelievable". It was the most discriminatory cut against women who took time out of their careers to raise a family, to work in their homes or to look after a loved one. They are substantially worse off now because of changes introduced by the previous Government. In the context of fairness, equity and everyone being equal, when the social welfare Bill comes before the House later this year, a clear undertaking and commitment must be given to begin unravelling this process in the next budget at a minimum.