Ireland's 'demanding' 2011 budget
Ireland’s government has unveiled a record austerity budget to save a total of 15 billion over the first portion of the four-year plan. A look at some of the details of the announced spending cuts and tax adjustments.
TAX RELIEF: The abolition and restriction of a number of tax reliefs -- including property-based legacy reliefs -- will yield some 150 million euros extra next year and help to draw a line under the tax breaks for high earners that helped fuel Ireland's property and spending boom.
PROPERTY TAXES: Lenihan said he wanted to bring confidence to Ireland's battered housing market and will amend how stamp duty is charged by bringing in a new flat rate of 1 percent tax on all residential property transactions up to a value of 1 million euros and 2 percent to amounts above 1 million.
MINISTERIAL PAY: Lenihan stood by a deal agreed with unions not to cut public sector pay but said the Prime Minister's salary would be cut by a further 14,000 euros with ministerial pay shaved by another 10,000 euros. Lenihan also said he wants to bring in a salary cap of 250,000 euros in the public sector.
SOCIAL WELFARE: The government will seek to save 873 million euros in the social protection budget, with almost half of those savings derived from a 4 percent reduction in basic unemployment benefit and the same cut to public sector pensions. The state pension remained the same while reductions of child benefit will yield 149 million euros.
HEALTHCARE: The health and childcare budget is to be cut by 746 million with the brunt of savings sought in drug costs, professional fee payments and payroll saving from voluntary redundancies.
EDUCATION: Savings in other areas next year will be in double digit million figures with the exception of 170 million euros to be taken out of the education budget achieved through reductions in student support schemes, capitation grant and a hike in the cost of attending university.