- 0.6% levy on private pension funds: Intended to raise €470m a year for each of the next four years.
- Air travel tax will be reduced to zero: This measure is taken provided airlines open new routes and boost passenger numbers.This measure will be reviewed at the end of 2012. Cuts in the lower rate of VAT: Rate to be reduced from 13.5% to 9% on a range of tourism-related goods and services. Mr Noonan said the tourism sector can make a substantial contribution to our economic recovery. This measure will be reviewed at the end of 2012.
- Cuts in lower rate of PRSI: Halving of employers' PRSI for low-paid workers below €356 a week will affect 600,000 workers.
- Reversal in the cut in the minimum wage: The minimum wage will be restored to €8.65 per hour from 1 July, 2011.
- Extra for school-building/improvement programmes and transport networks: There will be €30m made available for school works this summer. There will also be an additional €60m made available for regional roads.
- New SME loan scheme: Mr Noonan announced the creation of a new loan scheme for small and medium-sized enterprises. Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton is to provide further details.
- More training and internship places: Mr Noonan announced the setting-up of an internship programme. He said those who take part will be paid €50 per week on top of their social-welfare
- Mr Noonan stated that the 12.5% Corporation Profits Tax will not be increased.
Sinn Fein's Pearse Doherty in more Shinner SpinThe government has never claimed that this small jobs initiative would solve the unemployment crisis. The idea is to try and kick-start the domestic economy. Because of the strict financial constraints imposed by the IMF/EU deal the government had to generate sufficient funds without resorting to further borrowing. This has been done via the pension levy.
It was particularly interesting to watch the reaction of the various interest groups. The Sinn Fein reaction took the biscuit. Pearse Doherty the party's Spokesman on Finance claimed that the initiative would only create 430 jobs. Now of course this is pure balderdash. The idea was to imprint this figure in the public consciousness and undermine the plan. The Sinn Fein approach in the Dail is to criticise every decision of the government and to offer nothing constructive. Just negativity followed by more negativity.
Sinn Fein then drew attention to the FG five-point plan to create 100,000 jobs and claimed that the party had reneged on its pre election promises. This is a further misrepresentation of the facts. The Programme for Government has committed the new government to sell non-strategic state assets to raise 2 billion euro for further economic investment. This is a slow process and cannot be done in eight weeks. Sinn Fein has now given new political terminology to the English language-Shinner Spin (A Goebbels like orchestrated misrepresentation of an opposing political party policy or decision)
It is time for Sinn Fein to drop the Shinner Spin and to come up with something constructive for a change.