Financial Resolution No. 14: Capital Acquisitions Tax

(1) THAT, as respects a gift or an inheritance taken on or after 6 December 2012, the definition of “group threshold” in paragraph 1 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 to the Capital Acquisitions Tax Consolidation Act 2003 (No. 1 of 2003) be amended -
(a) in subparagraph (a) by substituting “€225,000” for “€250,000”,
(b) in subparagraph (b) by substituting “€30,150” for “€33,500”,
and
(c) in subparagraph (c) by substituting “€15,075” for “€16,750”.
(2) IT is hereby declared that it is expedient in the public interest that this Resolution shall have statutory effect under the provisions of the Provisional Collection of Taxes Act 1927 (No. 7 of 1927).
Financial Resolution No. 10 gives legislative effect to the budget announcement that the rates of deposit interest retention tax, DIRT, will increase by three percentage points with effect from 1 January 2013. The resolution amends section 256(1) of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 to give statutory effect to the new rates of DIRT applicable to deposits held in banks and other financial institutions. The changes in rates are as follows. The general 30% rate, which applies to deposit interest, including deposit interest arising on special savings accounts and special term accounts, is being increased by three percentage points to 33%. In addition, the 33% rate also is being increased by three percentage points to 36%. This rate applies in the case of interest which is not payable annually or at more frequent intervals or where the interest cannot be calculated until maturity of the investment. This includes investments such as tracker bonds where the amount of interest payable depends on the changes in a financial or other index over a number of years.
The resolution also amends section 267B of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 to increase the 30% rate, which applies to special share accounts and special term accounts held in credit unions, to a rate of 33%. The measures relating to DIRT in this budget build upon measures undertaken in budget 2012, when the standard DIRT rate increased from 27% to 30%. The increase in the DIRT rate is expected to yield the Exchequer approximately €47 million in 2013 and a full €60 million in the following year, 2014.

I welcome the opportunity to speak on this group of motions. While the Minister spoke to one of them, there are four individual motions pertaining to Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive. While I gather the Minister has given the speaking note in respect of one of the resolutions only, I will proceed in any event.

I apologise to Members. Was I expected to move all four together?

Yes, the Minister has moved them all.

Yes, they are grouped for voting.

Does the Deputy want me to speak to them all now?

No, Members understand them.

I have moved all four together but will speak seriatim on them.

Yes, and the Minister can reply. I am satisfied with that and note the proposals are significant but quite straightforward. I will speak to them in sequence. Resolution No. 10, on which the Minister spoke in detail, in layman's English is about increasing the rate of deposit interest retention tax, DIRT, which currently is at 30%, by 3% to 33%. Based on the Minister's statement today and the schedule on page A11 of the summary of the budget measures regarding deposit interest retention tax and exit tax on life assurance policies and investment funds recovered here, it proposes an increase in the rate of retention tax that applies to deposit interest, as the Minister already mentioned. It also will apply to life assurance policies and investment funds and the rates are being increased by three percentage points from 30% to 33% for payments made annually or more frequently and 36%, as the Minister already has mentioned, for more complicated cases in which the rate is only calculable at different intervals. Moreover, these increased rates will apply from 1 January 2013 and are expected to yield €50 million in the first year and €64 million in the second year.

These changes are broadly in line with the budget proposals put forward by Fianna Fáil. Another reason I consider this measure to be a good idea is that in the first instance, it constitutes taxation on people with large amounts of money sitting in the bank. It might actually encourage them to withdraw some of it and spend or invest it, thereby helping the economy. While I acknowledge the interest rate is quite low at present, increasing the DIRT rate might encourage people to get better use from their funds by putting them to use in the economy. This was one reason Fianna Fáil proposed an increase in the rate of DIRT. This point also essentially covers Financial Resolution No. 11 on the same basis.

Financial Resolution No. 12 proposes a change in the rate of capital gains tax, whereby the current rate of 30% also is to be increased by 3% to 33% and this increase will apply in respect of disposals made after tonight. If someone can get the documentation signed between now and midnight, the old rate will apply but otherwise, they will be caught with the new rate. I may not be technically correct in saying that but I understand this measure will come in from midnight tonight.

This will produce approximately €50 million in any year and we broadly support it. We recommended such a measure in our budget proposal because a gap of €3.5 billion cannot be closed without some additional taxes. As I indicated earlier, we agree with the principle of closing the €3.5 billion gap, so it would be irresponsible to vote against every specific detail. We will put our money where our mouth is by saying we support this increase in capital gains tax.

Some people may believe we should tax all capital out of existence but a capital gains tax of 33% is reasonable enough. It is a significant increase on the existing rate, which is moving towards the marginal rate rather than the lower rate. We could talk forever about the reduction in capital gains tax from 40% to 20% effected by my former colleague. It led to a phenomenal increase in yield, although the economy may have been improving at the time so more transactions were always going to happen.

It was the beginning of a disastrous slide to a zero tax base.

Yes, or maybe it encouraged more activity.

In ghost estates.

It was the wrong kind of activity.

I agree that at this time in the economic cycle, this measure is appropriate. We need cash and if it is available from the sale of property, other capital assets, shares or investment, the taxpayer should be entitled to get a reasonable dividend with an increase in the rate by 3%.

Financial Resolution No. 13 concerns capital acquisitions tax, with the current rate of 30% being increased by 3% to 33%. That applies to gifts after midnight and is expected to yield €27 million in a full year. We broadly support that measure, which is broadly in line with what we had in our budget proposals. Financial Resolution No. 14 is the last one to be dealt with tonight. Tax-free thresholds with regard to capital acquisitions tax are being reduced by 10%, and that will affect people transferring property. It can apply to farm land and other assets. We did not specifically include this measure in our proposal but it is generally in line with the previous three resolutions. I am not particularly gone on this one.

There are a number of resolutions being taken together. We have no problem supporting Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 to 13, inclusive, and I will not oppose Financial Resolution No. 14. In general, we are supportive of this group of resolutions.

We have concerns about Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 and 11. These will allow the Government to tax savings and use the revenue to pay for the promissory note. We need to encourage people to put those savings into the economy. We will vote against those resolutions.

With regard to Financial Resolutions Nos. 13 and 14, Sinn Féin proposed a 10% increase in capital gains and capital acquisitions tax, moving the rate from 30% to 40%. We proposed to reduce the tax-free threshold by 25%. In total, from the estimation of the Department of Finance, this would have raised over €300 million. According to colleagues on my left, the Department only contains amateurs and clowns, and we should disregard any opinion given by the Department in replies to parliamentary questions. Apparently, when parliamentary questions are asked and Departments give a response, they can only be amateurish and the work of clowns.

Nobody said that.

That was never said. The Deputy knows that well.

It is a desperate chorus of people who were clearly defeated by Fine Gael in negotiations when that party clearly defended the interests of the wealthy. Fine Gael could have considered the reality on the ground and done much more. The Labour Party lost out but rather than acknowledging that it did not get what it wanted in negotiations and the wealthy have been protected overall, we hear nonsense from members about how Department of Finance feedback is not reliable or the way to do business. Nobody will buy that absolute nonsense outside the House.

We will support Financial Resolutions Nos. 12 to 14, inclusive, begrudgingly. There was an opportunity to raise more than €300 million but the Government will raise approximately €100 million. The figure in question - roughly the same as what will be brought about by the property tax - could have been achieved by asking the wealthy to pay their share, thus undoing the damage done by Champagne Charlie when he was around. This is all about choices and winning negotiations. The Labour Party lost to Fine Gael but it should not blame us or the Department of Finance when it provides answers to questions, as it is required to in our Irish democracy.

The Deputy has just proven a point.

None of us wants to drag out this process at this stage. Broadly speaking, these measures are reasonable.

Could we have that in writing, preferably engraved in stone?

The Minister might be surprised to hear that I have said that now on three occasions tonight.

We should not get carried away.

Despite the attempts by certain people on the other side of the House to caricature this side, we take these issues seriously, considering the detail as much as possible in the short time available. I have a concern but I am unsure what to do about it given that, broadly speaking, these are progressive measures. Some of the increases do not distinguish between the small and big saver. I know the vast majority of people who will be affected by these increases in tax will be people who have plenty of money to save, and the people we wish to protect or give relief to do not have much in the way of savings these days. Broadly speaking, these resolutions are right. There are ordinary people with relatively modest amounts of savings, and it is unfortunate that they will get caught in what is a broadly progressive measure. The Government should think about it.

There is a more marginal point. We are a country with a high degree of home ownership, although in a way different from much of the rest of Europe. There is a difference in the way property is passed to the next generation when it is not necessarily about passing on significant amounts of wealth. Although it may not be done now, we should examine the process of imposing taxes on capital gains and acquisitions, as well as taxes on savings.

I will not labour the point but the Government could have gone much further in going after the major inequalities. It is fair to say everything could have been costed by the Department of Finance. As the new people on the block, we thought the parliamentary question process was the way to get information from the Department of Finance. That is how we got some of our information. There was nothing amateur or half-hearted about our efforts in putting together our document. Most of it stands up to scrutiny. The income tax element has been taken directly from a spreadsheet provided by the Department; when the effective tax rate is adjusted, the relevant figures pop up on the screen. It is very interesting and Deputies should look at it. I thank the Department of Finance for that information.

It would not have helped to have the issue of corporation tax costed because the Minister for Finance told us it was too complicated to calculate. That is not much of an answer to our first question. A second question asked for the bands of the different levels of profits of companies, and it was only then that we got the figures to show how much gross pre-tax income of companies was available, how much tax was paid and the various allowances that facilitated the taxable amount to be written down. The response that the process was too complicated was not satisfactory.

Was that a reply to a parliamentary question?

Yes. The response from the Minister for Finance was that the process was too complicated.

On the issue of a wealth tax, the answer, as we stated explicitly, was that we need a comprehensive register of wealth and assets to identify how wealth is distributed. All we have, however, are Central Bank figures which show the overall quantum of wealth, how much of it is financial and how much is household wealth and what are the liabilities. We do not know the distribution of household assets that are valued at €447 billion. We need to know how these assets are distributed in order that we can have a progressive taxation system that targets accumulated wealth. There is by international standards a significant quantum of household wealth in this small country. If one divides the figure by the population, as has been done, one finds that Ireland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This position is not borne out by our levels of poverty, however, and for this reason it is necessary to carry out a serious study to identify how wealth is distributed. This would enable us to implement a targeted wealth tax.

Much of the country's wealth is in property, yet Deputy Boyd Barrett opposes a property tax.

Having a roof over one's head is not an indication of one's ability to pay €300, €400 or €500.

Property is a store of wealth. The Deputy cannot have it both ways.

Let us not be facile about this.

I am not being facile.

All that being said, these measures are broadly progressive.

I concur with some of the comments Deputies have made on the resolutions. What does the Minister expect the measures in Financial Resolution No. 10 to yield? He indicated that Financial Resolution No. 11 would yield €47 million. Will he also elaborate on the reference to credit unions?

I concur with colleagues that since the introduction by the former Minister for Finance, Mr. Charlie McCreevy, of disastrous changes to the taxation system, we have been crawling back towards a sustainable taxation system.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Gilmore, commented on the proposals made by the Opposition in respect of the budget. As the Minister, Deputy Quinn, will be aware, seven weeks ago a section of the Labour Party led my me, Deputy Nulty and Ms Nessa Childers, MEP, made a number of proposals relating to people with massive wealth and on higher incomes. If implemented, the proposals would have realised approximately €1 billion. They were costed by the Department of Finance through parliamentary questions and offered an alternative to the measures in today's budget.

I commend my Labour Party colleagues on the introduction of a measure to cap the value of pension contributions eligible for tax relief at €60,000. This was a significant victory for the Labour Party and a measure Deputy Shortall and I called for several months ago.

While there are positive aspects to the budget, in overall terms this is a sad day for the Labour Party. The Fine Gael Party set its priorities and ran rings around my party on many aspects of the budget. My colleague, Deputy Boyd Barrett, is correct that-----

We are Deputy Broughan's colleagues.

Some time ago, I suggested to the Minister for Finance that he establish a commission on top pay, similar to that which the Miliband brothers are seeking to establish in the United Kingdom. The Minister responded by rubbishing my proposal. He does not want to know where the wealth is in this country and why would he given that his party and Fianna Fáil have for decades represented that wealth in this House?

Unless my valiant colleagues on the Labour Party benches can change the social welfare Bill, this day will remembered as the day the Labour Party cut €10 from child benefit. It will become a day of shame and infamy that will be put up to Labour Party representatives and candidates for decades to come. Today will be remembered in the same way as the case of a certain Sligo alderman in the 1920s and a decision on old age pensions taken decades ago.

It is not rubbish. The Minister of State, Deputy White, is only a wet day in this House.

The Deputy's remarks are over the top.

I and the Minister were fighting elections 30 years ago when Deputy White was with another party.

I ask Deputy Broughan to speak to the financial resolutions.

I was never with any other party.

He was.

The cuts announced in social welfare are a grave error and one which should be remedied before next week. As anyone who has been unemployed will agree, cutting jobseeker's benefit when people are vulnerable as they desperately try to return to work is reprehensible. The mean cuts in the back-to-school allowance and household benefits package do not have anything to do with the Labour Party's ethos and are the wrong approach.

On the measures taken in the Department of Education and Skills, it is not necessary to make promises before elections but if one does so, one should keep them. The Minister talked the talk and should have walked the walk. Incidentally, the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio in post-leaving certificate programmes and cuts in funding to the vocational education committees are also mean spirited. The Minister has cut the pupil-teacher ratio for many kids who did not have a chance to go to third level.

In health, people on home care packages face another year of anxiety.

The general debate on the budget will take place tomorrow.

I am steering around to the fact that a section of the Labour Party-----

The Deputy is not speaking to the resolutions.

I am speaking to the resolution on capital taxation.

He has not once mentioned capital taxation.

Please allow Deputy Broughan to continue without interruption.

It is the militant tendency.

The hard road for Labour Party Deputies to take is to walk beside me but they have chosen to take the easy way out. The hard way is to stand up and be counted and to seek to form a Government led by the Labour Party.

The Deputy chose the easy way by walking away.

Tragically, it was Deputy Stagg who abandoned the Labour Party many years ago.

I ask Deputy Broughan to conclude.

There is another way. A section of the Labour Party, supported by many party members, put forward a proposal and argued that there is a different way, a Labour Party way. We could have achieved whatever the troika has imposed on us without imposing mean spirited, reprehensible cuts that will have a negative impact on the people the Labour Party primarily tries to represent and those who will seek to represent them in the years and decades to come. I ask the Minister, and I believe my colleagues would like me ask this-----

We will manage without Deputy Broughan's advice.

The Deputy should stick with the militant tendency.

Deputy Broughan has the floor.

He is being interrupted incessantly.

I am in the Chair.

(Interruptions).

Let Deputy Broughan speak.

As we head into 2013, I ask my colleagues, who are the voice of the Labour Party, to stand up and be counted and stop kowtowing to Fine Gael. When the Minister was leader of the Labour Party - I proposed him for the role incidentally - his ambition was to be the leader of a Government of the left led by the Labour Party, as is the case with President Hollande who has introduced a wealth tax. Even Chancellor Merkel will have to face a labour party in elections next year. The Minister wanted to have a serious attempt to achieve power but today, unfortunately, the Labour Party is abandoning that ambition.

I welcome Deputy Broughan's contribution. He has always been consistent in that when the going gets tough, he always gets going. He has never in his life stayed around for a decent fight.

How dare the Deputy.

(Interruptions).

Could I have a little bit of order, please? Deputy Boyd Barrett made a valiant contribution on Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 and 11.

It is unfortunate that small savings cannot be separated from the 3% increase, but this may be an education for Sinn Féin. A wealth tax is about taxing assets. The taxes under Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 and 11 will accrue €64 million. Deputy Boyd Barrett has a sense of reality; we need money, and the way to get it is to tax assets in banks. However, Sinn Féin obviously does not believe in a wealth tax, as it bucks when it must take difficult decisions. The motions that we are debating are truly progressive.

The Fine Gael Deputies are delighted. Look at them. They are like Cheshire cats.

Deputy, please.

Sinn Féin had its opportunity and blew it.

I ask Deputy Humphreys to proceed, please.

Labour blew it too.

These are progressive wealth taxes. Capital gains tax is being increased. The capital acquisitions tax thresholds are being reduced, accruing €15 million. These are true wealth taxes. They are what the Labour Party has fought for and won since the time when Deputy Broughan was one of our members and was prepared to fight.

He is still a member.

He is not a member of the parliamentary party.

No, but he is a member of the real Labour Party.

Will Deputy Humphreys please proceed without interruption?

I will support these resolutions and stay within the Labour Party to ensure that we introduce good, progressive wealth taxes such as these. I am proud to vote for the motions.

Anyone who examines this budget objectively will agree that those who have most will carry most in terms of these four motions.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

No Deputy would disagree with their provisions. We could have imposed higher taxes on middle or lower income earners. Some Members on that side of the House would advocate further cuts instead of these taxes.

I am delighted that we are having a mature debate, as this House goes. In the years to come, the country's sovereignty will have been regained. I make no bones about the fact that difficult decisions have been made. Voting for this budget will not grant me or my colleagues who stand beside me a bonus. We will make no monetary or political gain. The populist movement stands inside the Opposition parties.

My parliamentary question showed that the Opposition parties did nothing to cost their budget proposals.

That is not true.

Does Deputy Spring not believe the Department of Finance?

It is as simple as this, and we pointed it out to the Opposition. One can build something - for example, a house - block by block. However, Sinn Féin is pouring cement on it.

Does the Deputy not believe the Department of Finance?

Is the Department wrong?

There is no foundation. With all deference to every Deputy, one cannot cost parts-----

Would the Deputies mind speaking through the Chair? Will they please settle down? Other Members wish to speak.

Government Deputies have been screaming and shouting all night long. The Ceann Comhairle is a bit late calling everyone to order now.

I am in the Chair now and I do not know what went on before I arrived. I am present now and I will make certain that people have the right to speak.

I am sorry, but I have not shouted at anyone-----

Those Deputies have been like a choir. A very bad choir, at that.

-----and I have no intention of doing so or of talking anyone down. That is not how I operate.

Is Deputy Spring accusing the officials of the Department of Finance?

However, I will highlight the fact that one cannot submit or cost part of a budget.

The Government would not cost the other bit.

Some Deputies have made proposals amounting to €1 billion while others have claimed they would tell the IMF to go home and that we did not need money.

The Labour Party did.

The totality of the argument is either founded or unfounded.

I will not ask the Deputy again. I am serious. I am cutting this out. People are entitled to have their say and others are waiting to speak. Deputy Spring, please proceed without interruption.

Some people claim there is an easy way to remove money from an economy. One statistic that Deputies should know is that, two years ago, approximately 30% of our entire debt-to-GDP ratio was accounted for by banking debts. We could be compared with Zimbabwe, not Sweden or the other developing Nordic countries to which we aspire. We have reduced that figure to less than one third of what it was.

We are 80% of the way through this process. It is difficult and it is unpopular on our side. If the Opposition has a word of wisdom for the House, we would like to hear it and for the media to examine it in its totality. The fraudsters who are putting bad budgetary policies and submissions together need to be exposed for what they are.

These resolutions are good measures and every Deputy should endorse them. Those in society with the most are being asked to pay the most.

The protesting Labour Deputies duly doth protest too much entirely tonight. They have come in a cohort to drown out, in reality, not so much their dissident colleagues, as they have just been trying to do, but the weakness of their fundamental economic and political position.

On the motion, please.

The Labour Deputies have been in a hapless position since March 2011, when they took the fatal decision that they would continue the disastrous strategy of Fianna Fáil to bail out-----

We only lost three Deputies. The Socialist Party lost 50% of its Deputies.

And not for good reasons.

Does Deputy Higgins have the full support of his parliamentary party?

There will be a few more bailouts yet.

-----bondholders and bankers at the expense of the working people they were supposed to represent, and they have defended the indefensible since then.

Will the Deputy please speak on the motions before the House? That is what the debate is about.

He never has before. Why would he start now?

A Deputy

He will get there.

The Tánaiste lectured the House on procedure, etc. He came up with a mishmash of three or four motions-----

Deputy Higgins's Whip agreed to it.

Will Deputy Stagg stop acting the bully?

Do you hear the fella talking?

Since I have entered the Chamber, Deputy Stagg has been shouting at everyone.

Deputy Martin is shouting at me now. I am not a bit terrified of Fianna Fáil.

I know, but this is Parliament.

Excuse me. Will Deputies please allow Deputy Higgins-----

Deputy Stagg attacked Deputy Broughan.

Deputy Martin, will you please respect the Chair?

I am sorry, and I do, but what is going on? It is outrageous.

Will Deputy Higgins please proceed and speak on the motions before the House?

I am not a bit terrified of Fianna Fáil.

The Deputy is terrified of Labour's own.

We have heard complaints from Deputies all night about motions, some of which they agree with and some of which they disagree with, being taken in one vote. It is quite ridiculous. The Tánaiste lectured the House and the cacophony on my right supported him-----

Deputy Higgins stated that already. He is repeating himself.

Deputies, please.

-----in regard to some of the alternative and solidly evidenced proposals that we on the left tabled. The Deputies should not demean or downgrade the information that is given through parliamentary questions from the Department of Finance, which is what was done tonight. For example, when I submitted a question to the Minister for Finance asking for a certain schema to be worked out in respect of three higher tax bands for those earning between €100,000 and €200,000, he replied that it would yield €1.1 billion extra in income taxes. The United Left Alliance's submission went further and wider and came up with €2.5 billion. What was missing was any will whatsoever by this Government to tax the very wealthy as opposed to hitting the majority of ordinary working class people and the poor, as it has done again in spades in this budget, which is quite shameful.

On a point of order-----

What is your point of order?

Are we taking statements on the budget?

No. Will the Deputy please resume his seat? I will look after the Chair if he will just stay quiet and allow me to get on with business.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys did the same.

I remind Deputy Higgins again to speak on the motions and to have respect for other Deputies who are waiting to contribute. This debate will conclude at 10.48 p.m.

Is this last year's speech?

Deputy Higgins should please speak on the motions before the House, not make a Second Stage speech.

If I were Deputy Humphreys I would not have the audacity to make that point, as he spent his contribution simply abusing other Members of the Dáil, including his dissident colleagues. He has some neck.

It does not bother Deputy Broughan.

In case Deputy Humphreys has not done so, he should read the work of Connolly and Larkin, the founders of his party. He will see that he is dealing with-----

Speak on the motion, for God's sake.

Has Deputy Higgins finished his contribution? I want to call on Deputy Donohoe.

Deputy Higgins reads Trotsky.

(Interruptions).

-----a sick financial market system whereby-----

The Deputy was expelled from the Labour Party with his carry-on.

(Interruptions).

-----we currently have €3 trillion in accumulated profits which they refuse to invest on a Europe-wide basis in jobs and services.

That is not the motion before the House.

A Cheann Comhairle, €3 trillion. Come on.

That is the sickness of the financial markets system the Government is attempting to bail out.

I will not ask the Deputy a second time. Please stick to the financial resolutions. There are three other speakers.

Of course we can support the capital gains tax increases, but they are minuscule. They are puny and pathetic, compared with what would be introduced if we had a Labour Party or a socialist party in a majority in the Dáil or as a significant Opposition. The Government would not dream of coming to the House with such rubbish to pretend to be doing something radical-----

-----when the whole thrust of the budget is to continue the disastrous austerity policy and bail out the bankers and speculators at the cost of working class people.

Bail out Deputy Clare Daly.

It is clear in the debate what the approach of the Opposition will be. In fairness, it is consistent in its approach. What we have seen repeatedly in the pre-budget submissions they have made is that Sinn Féin, Fianna Fáil and their colleagues behind them come to the House year-round and oppose measure after measure taken by the Government. When it comes to them putting together their own pre-budget submissions, however, they accept every single one of the Government's measures and bag all of the savings it has made. We saw that with Fianna Fáil.

We did not. We proposed to reverse the cuts.

Fianna Fáil opposed the new household tax that is being introduced but in its pre-budget submission it accepted a flat €100 rate.

We costed the reversal.

Last year, Sinn Féin opposed the increase in VAT but it kept it in place in its pre-budget submission. Last year Sinn Féin said it would abolish the universal social charge. Where does that stand in its pre-budget submission?

We are dealing with the present.

We are trying to clean up the mess.

Where is any of that? Sinn Féin came into the Dáil and said before its voters-----

My goodness. That is cynical.

A Cheann Comhairle, this is the problem-----

Deputy Donohoe should please speak through the Chair.

I am speaking through the Chair. That is the problem with Sinn Féin.

Deputy Donohoe is a happy man tonight. Fine Gael got its way. He should just enjoy his victory.

If the Deputy addresses the Chair, it will cut out the aggro.

I am addressing you, a Cheann Comhairle. I am just making a comment about Sinn Féin, which is that it is well able to dole it out but it is not able to accept anything in return. This is the party that came into the House and said it would abolish the universal social charge.

It said it had found €3 billion to do that-----

I ask Members to be quiet, please.

We did not have the numbers. Does Deputy Donohoe not know that?

-----but it has not found a single way of doing it. Unfortunately, what we have seen happen is that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin are seeking to merge into one. Both are saying the same thing.

I have a feeling Deputy Donohoe’s party is closer to Fianna Fáil.

They are trying to create the idea that someone else can pay the price for the terrible mess Fianna Fáil created and the other party on the Opposition is complicit in maintaining.

Come on. What a speech.

It is very relevant to the motion. If I am allowed to finish, what we have in front of us are a number of measures relating to capital gains tax, capital acquisition tax and other measures-----

On a point of order, could Deputy Donohoe speak to the motion, please?

----which make a contribution to ensuring people who have wealth, which they have earned, will be taxed fairly and at a higher rate than was the case in the past. The parties on the Opposition side of the House talk repeatedly about the need to tax more. A measure is being put in place that will allow us to do that. It will ensure people who have a degree of wealth will be taxed fairly on it.

In commenting on the measures, I ask for a small degree of consistency in the contributions of the parties. In their pre-budget submissions they sought to maintain all the measures they attacked last year. They seem to ignore the fact that the standard rates of income tax, tax bands and tax credits are being maintained. Many of the social welfare payments on which people depend week after week are also being maintained. All of the measures are being put in place and other hard choices are being made to allow these things to happen. The financial resolutions that have been moved are part of that approach.

I am pleased to contribute to the debate. I had not intended to, but the first thing to say-----

A Cheann Comhairle, I had signalled before Deputy Nulty.

No. Deputy Nulty was on the list before Deputy Martin. Deputy Martin was not on the list.

I was but I could not get the Chair's attention.

I put Deputy Martin on the list. If we can get on with the debate, I will call Deputy Martin.

How much time is left?

I was not present for the start of the debate because I heard the Minister for Finance, Deputy Noonan, on the “Prime Time” programme suggest that parents do not spend the back-to-school allowance on their children, that they use it for other things.

Will the Deputy please stick to the financial resolutions?

I am speaking to them. Other people have spoken and you should allow me to speak, a Cheann Comhairle.

Consistency, a Cheann Comhairle.

Would you ever mind your own business, please?

Allow me to speak.

I have a right to challenge decisions.

Mind your own business.

I support many of the measures in this package of proposals. They are taxes on wealth and they are most welcome, but they have not gone far enough. The reason that is the case is because we have a Government where the Minister for Finance, the Taoiseach and the Minister for Health are from one particular party, the Fine Gael Party, which has objected and upheld and prevented progressive proposals being brought forward.

Thank you, Deputy Nulty.

I am a member of the Labour Party but part of our tradition in the labour movement is to dissent.

We are not having a general discussion.

Now is the time to dissent, speak out and stand up for working people when there is an attack-----

The Deputy can speak on that tomorrow in the general debate.

----- on our living conditions from Fianna Fáil and now from Fine Gael.

Deputies

Hear, hear.

We are supportive of these resolutions in so far as they go, but they do not go far enough in terms of redressing the imbalance at the heart of this budget.

Does Deputy Martin want more tax on the rich?

I have witnessed this evening a degree of intolerance and bitterness in the contributions from Labour Party Members towards their former members, which I have not heard previously in this House.

There is no former member present.

Members have left our party-----

Sorry, Deputy. I would appreciate it if you would just make your contribution.

-----but we always allowed them the right to speak in this Chamber, and it should be a cherished right.

Speak to the motion.

The degree of attack on Deputy Broughan by the Labour Whip as I entered the Chamber was unacceptable and at a low level.

Perhaps Deputy Martin might speak to the financial resolution.

That is not on the motion.

Was Deputy Martin not in the House during Haughey's time?

So, Jim Gibbons was never beaten up by Fianna Fáil activists in the corridor.

In terms of the imbalance at the heart of this budget-----

Did Dessie O'Malley not leave Fianna Fáil?

-----workers on €25,000 will witness from today a 36% increase in their PRSI-----

I would like to see you guys running the country.

-----whereas a worker on €175,000 will witness a mere increase of 3.9% on their PRSI.

Fianna Fáil bankrupted the country. Deputy Martin ought to be ashamed of himself.

That is the imbalance at the heart of this budget.

Does Fianna Fáil promise to reverse the cuts?

I respectfully suggest that is the problem for many members of the Labour Party. Regarding the two meanest cuts, I appeal to the Government to re-examine the respite grant-----

Please, Deputy. We are on-----

-----because there was no need to cut that, and also the clothing allowance.

Deputy Martin did not want to be in government. It is unbelievable.

Regarding the resolutions before us, I will not act in a patronising manner, as Deputy Donohoe has just done. No one needs lectures from him because Fine Gael and the Labour Party opposed every single measure in the past four years and promptly adopted all of them once they went into Government after the general election.

That is when Fianna Fáil had wrecked the country.

They reversed many of the commitments they made.

Fianna Fáil took a fiver off the blind pension.

One of the Ministers present stood on the steps of Trinity College and made a solemn promise to the students of Ireland that he would reverse student charges, not increase them. He broke that solemn commitment as soon as he came to power.

Three hundred per cent.

In many ways these resolutions are progressive and we support them but they do not redress the wider imbalance in the budget proper. I am reminded of one of the sayings from the great leader, Seán Lemass, namely, that there was only one Labour Party in Ireland and that happened to be Fianna Fáil.

(Interruptions).

A Deputy

And Bertie wore Joe Higgins's clothes.

Is it now three?

It is not over there.

Would Members have some respect for the Chamber? We are still in session. As it is now 10.50 p.m. I am required to put the following question: "That Financial Resolutions Nos. 10 to 14, inclusive, be agreed to."

Question put and declared carried.

I move the following Financial Resolution: