A derelict house. Housing is one of the key areas in this year’s Budget. Photo: Roya Ann Miller

Budget 2022: Is it a missed opportunity?

There were mixed reactions to Tuesday’s Budget 2022 announcement of €4.7 billion with a number of sectors expressing concern.

The Restaurants Association of Ireland (RAI) described Tuesday’s Budget as “disastrous”, and said it showed no ambition to stimulate and revitalise the tourism industry.

Adrian Cummins, Chief Executive of the RAI said this was evident in the Government’s decision to end the nine per cent VAT rate for his sector in August 2022.

He said: “This budget is a disaster for our members, restaurants, cafes and gastropubs, a vital element of our tourism offering. The VAT rate ending and wage supports tapering off will be the death nail in the coffin of many hospitality businesses this winter.”

Mr Cummins did welcome the supports offered in the budget but said there are still some long hard months ahead for the sector. Meanwhile, airport and travel group daa warmly welcomed the news that the Government is to provide €90 million in immediate funding for an aviation package to help Ireland rebuild vital international connectivity.

Dalton Philips, CEO at daa said: “Our business at Dublin and Cork Airports has been significantly hit by the fall in the passenger numbers over the past two years, as has the entire aviation ecosystem including our airline partners. We obviously welcome the measures announced in the budget and look forward to rebuilding our long and short haul networks out of Dublin and Cork Airports on the strength of these supports.”

Charity against poverty St Vincent de Paul (SVD) welcomed the increase to welfare payments but said that an additional €5 in social welfare patients is insufficient to keep people afloat in a sea of rising living costs.

Dr Tricia Keilthy, SVP Head of Social Justice said: “The increase in core social welfare payments by €5 is welcome. However, the reality is that these increases just about cover the increase in the cost of living after two years when the rate didn’t rise. They are still at a level that is below the poverty line. Budget 2022 was an opportunity missed to commit to benchmarking social welfare rates to an adequate level over time.”

Sinn Féin’s Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire suggested that renters, first time buyers and families with childcare costs are losers in Budget 2022. The Cork South Central TD said: “Budget 2022 makes it clear that this is a Government that are out of touch and out of ideas. No answers, no urgency, no leadership.

“Families in Cork are spending €800, €900 on childcare. If they have more than two kids this can be well over €1,000. Budget 2022 makes no proposals to reduce these fees, instead freezing them at levels that are already far too expensive.

“Rent in Cork is averaging over €1,300 per month. It is impossible for people to save while they’re paying this. Yet, there is nothing for renters in this budget. Sinn Féin proposed a refundable tax credit for all tenants, putting a month’s rent back in every renter’s pocket,” he added.