There’s a hole in the budget, dear Brian. A hole!

So it seems the threshold for the over 70s medical card is to be raised again. And FF (or the cabinet at the very least) must be hoping that this will lower the temperature enough that they can get through the week without more people going overboard.

However, at first reading one has to ask if most of those receiving the benefit of the card will now retain that benefit then the government has close to 100 million of a hole in its budget calculations. To be added on to this is the possible/probably changes in the income levy, we’re told that about 800,000 people who work don’t pay income tax, but they would be paying the levy as it is on all income. So let’s at a minimum scenario and presume they’re all earning the minimum wage that means they could be paying €180 per year under the Lenny Levy. If all 800,000 were to be exempt from the levy that would be another €150 million missing from the budget. A hundred million here, a hundred and fifty million there and soon we’ll be talking about real money!

Update: It does sound from the statement that the government has adopted the idea from Fine Gael that savings could be made in the drugs area by more use of generics. I wonder if the media will even notice or acknowledge this. Also it now appears the government is modifying the competition act in order to make it possible for it to negotiate with the IMO in future, that might work locally but what about European competition law. They really are making it up as they go along.

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