Monday, September 12, 2022

James Cox

The cost-of-living crisis is now the biggest concern for people ahead of the upcoming Budget, with housing a close second, according to a new survey.

The first instalment of the Taxback.com Taxpayer Pre-Budget 2023 Survey, on 1,500 adults from throughout the country, found that over one in three (35 per cent) people believe inflation should be the biggest priority of the Government in the upcoming Budget.

The housing crisis is also weighing heavily on people’s minds with almost one in three (32 per cent) citing housing as the biggest issue facing the Government in Budget 2023.

Huge concern around rising prices represents a “marked change” on the results of Taxback.com’s pre-Budget survey last year, when housing was the overriding concern for 47 per cent of people.

Today’s survey is a worrying signal of the extent to which people are struggling with day-to-day living costs.

Commenting on the findings of the pre-Budget survey, Marian Ryan, consumer tax manager with Taxback.com, said: “This is the first time in many years that housing has not come out top in Taxback.com’s pre-Budget survey as the issue which requires the most urgent and immediate Government attention.”

“Today’s survey is a worrying signal of the extent to which people are struggling with day-to-day living costs. Many people are already cutting back on their heating and electricity – as well as on other essentials such as food – due to rising living costs.

“Indeed, a report published by the Society of the St Vincent de Paul in February 2022 found that almost one in four people had cut back on heating and electricity due to rising energy costs – while almost one in five had cut back on other essentials such as food.

“Earlier this year, the Government announced an electricity credit of €200 to households nationwide but the credit – which has since been paid – was at the time envisaged as a one-off payment. However, the Government has signalled that another energy credit is on the table for Budget 2023 to help people manage increases in the cost of living.”

Main points from the Taxback.com Pre-Budget 2023 Survey include:

  • Almost four in 10 (39 per cent) of those polled called for a better tax-free bonus for workers. Currently workers can get a tax-free bonus from their employer of up to €500 a year. The survey found that many believe this tax-free bonus should be increased to €1,000.
  • Almost one in three (29 per cent) called for more electricity credits as the public continues to struggle with runaway living costs and energy bills.
  • The environment is one of two things which is of the least concern to people ahead of the Budget. Only 1 per cent of those surveyed said the environment should be the biggest issue addressed by the Government in the upcoming Budget. This was a similar amount to the number who believe that support for small businesses should be the biggest issue tackled by the Government in Budget 2023.

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