Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
Michael Noonan (Minister, Department of Finance; Limerick City, Fine Gael)
For the sake of completeness, I want to add some further remarks about the ESRI budget analysis. Senator Reilly quoted it accurately but if she quoted the remainder she would have noted it said the weight of overall adjustments in the past four years has been on the wealthiest in society, not the poorest. She will also recall this budget exempted over 300,000 people from the universal social charge which is a major move in the direction which the Senator advocates.
Consultancy work can be used selectively to support one case or another. In a study I read in late autumn, the ESRI explained why the impact of indirect taxes was greater on poorer families than on better off families. The proportion of income that poorer families use on alcohol, tobacco and public transport is far greater than the proportion used by middle or higher income families. People are entitled to spend their money whatever way they like. To provide a more complete picture, the full ESRI data should be included in the debate.