Budget 2011 – key points

Brian Lenihan has delivered one of the toughest budgets this country has seen in living memory.
Substantial tax increases, cuts in social welfare and bringing more workers into the tax net are the key features of Budget 2011.
If you are on a low or middle income, this budget is going to hurt you the most.
Six billion euro is to be taken in by way of 1.5 billion in new taxes and 4.5 bilion in spending cuts.
In the area of social welfare – 4 per cent is to be cut from all welfare payments, excluding pensioners and the most vulnerable.
This will see the dole and other payments cut by 9 euro a week, with child benefit being slashed by 10 euro a month per child, and double that for the third child.
The lower paid – who traditionally have not paid tax – will be brought into the tax net gradually.
While there are to be no changes to the top and lower income tax rates, tax bands are to be narrowed which will mean more people pay the higher rate of income tax.
Income tax bands and credits to be cut by 10 per cent.
Mr Lenihan also plans to colsolidate the health and income levies into one so called “universal social charge.”
Members of the government are to facing yet another pay cut.
The Taoiseach’s salary to be cut by additional 14,000 euro, Ministers by 10,000.
They’ll also find it more difficult to get around in the future because the state car fleet is being reduced by a third.
There is also some welcome news for smokers and drinkers, neither are to be touched to prevent further black market trade but a review of the duty for the on and off trade to be conducted next year.
However petrol and diesel will not escape.
Petrol is going up by 4 cent per litre from midnight tonight and diesel will rise by 2 cent per litre.