Budget 2021 is ‘anti-rural, anti-farmer and anti-motorist’ – rural independents

The Rural Independent Group in the Dáil has described Budget 2021 as representing “a gross injustice to rural living, farm families, motorists and livelihoods”.

Speaking in the aftermath of the Budget, yesterday evening (Tuesday, October 13), spokesperson of the Independent Group deputy Mattie McGrath stated:

“The stark reality is, as we digest Budget 2021, there is nothing contained within it that will make a positive or noticeable difference to most people across rural Ireland.

In fact, motorists and farmers must feel extremely hard hit under Budget 2021, as fuel prices and motor tax are set to be significantly increased over the coming months.

“The carbon tax hikes contained in the budget will hit rural Ireland and the poorest in our communities disproportionately hardest.”

Noting that the Finance Bill will legislate for a carbon tax hike of €7.50 per annum until 2029, and €6.50 in 2030, to achieve the €100/t government objective, McGrath said:

“The dictatorial attitude to push a tax measure with a 10-year impact through means a complete lack of parliamentary oversight for this new potentially crippling taxation measure, which will cost approximately the equivalent of 2.5c extra per litre of petrol and diesel, 80c on the cost of a 40kg bag of coal and €17 extra on 900L of home heating oil every single year.

The budget also includes a sneaky remodelling of the Vehicle Registration Tax [VRT] aimed at raising the bands from 11 at present to 20, applying to all new car sales from January 1. According to the Society of the Irish Motor Industry (SIMI), the changes will mean a €1,000 increase in the price of the average new car.

This is despite Ireland already having the second most expensive cars in the EU, the Tipperary TD noted.

“We know, that rural residents and families depend more on cars for getting around than urban dwellers, due to the ongoing lack of public transport; yet, this government is hammering motorists while simultaneously allocating almost all of the capital €1.2 billion public transport budget to Dublin-based projects, including the Dublin MetroLink and the Luas development project,” the deputy claimed.

“This budget’s outright attack on rural Ireland is shameful and will cost further job losses and will significantly increase the cost of living in rural areas.

“We believe, this Budget was good for bankers, elites, big business and those living in south Dublin – but it was absolutely disastrous for rural Ireland,” concluded deputy McGrath.