Regional independents are urging that health, public services and budgets must be prioritized as pre-budget talks are underway

Treasury Secretary Paschal Donohoe and Public Expenditure Secretary Michael McGrath began pre-budget meetings with TDs today.

First in the door were the Regional Independents, which came out with confirmation from the two finance ministers that there would be a sizeable living package in the budget late next month.

Mr. Donohoe and Mr. McGrath, in particular, are looking for one-time revenue streams that enable giveaways that will not be repeated for years to come.

The rough parameters are that there will be a package of €6.4 billion, of which €2.4 billion is already “baked in” from previous measures, year-round use or demographic changes. There will also be a €1 billion tax package for 2023. But the search for measures, and their funding, that will relieve families in the rest of 2022 is underway.

The regional independents pointed out that there had been record corporate tax receipts this year which would allow for some pre-Christmas moves.

They particularly want free public transport to be made available to all students, both because of the pressure on families and the third-tier housing crisis that will force thousands to commute to college.

Denis Naughten, chair of the eight-member independent group, said that because of inflation this year, while they wanted to see an increase in benefits for everyone, they also wanted more recognition for workers, arguing it should always pay off when the to be work .

There were anomalies that disadvantaged people, including in terms of overtime and extra hours.

He said medical and dental spending is another area where the government should help, noting that it previously cut the tax break from the marginal rate to the standard rate of just 20 percent.

The independent group argues that the budget should at least be increased to 30 percent.

“We need a whole-of-government approach to address the rising cost of living, the lack of affordable housing, climate change challenges and accessible local health services,” the group said.

“People, health, well-being, public services, housing and infrastructure must be priorities.”

A full review of tax credits and the welfare system must be completed to ensure working is always financially better for individual citizens and families, their submission said.

In the meantime, the Social Welfare Benefit of Work Estimator should be modernized to make the interface more user-friendly and to offer citizens a full assessment of their individual supports and benefits, as well as education and training opportunities.

The current rate of capital gains tax (CGT) is high by international standards at 33 percent and the annual exemption limit of 1,270 euros is “relatively insignificant”, the group said.

“Succession and transfer of family wealth will encourage the next generation to take over running businesses and farms. This not only rejuvenates the business, but also enables a long-term climate and sustainable investments that help reduce our national carbon footprint.

“It also allows people to relocate, live and thrive in regional Ireland.” Regional independents are urging that health, public services and budgets must be prioritized as pre-budget talks are underway

Fry Electronics Team

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