DUBLIN, Oct 10 (Reuters) - Ireland’s Green Party voted on Saturday in favour of staying in power, removing the risk of a snap election that would have scuppered a “bad bank” plan to revive the financial system and held up urgent fiscal surgery.
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Here are some of the main points of the new government programme agreed by Green leaders and Cowen’s Fianna Fail party late on Friday, including fiscal and banking policy and key Green demands on the environment and animal welfare:
The programme reiterates a target of slashing the budget deficit from this year’s expected 12 percent of gross domestic product to the 3-percent limit prescribed by EU rules by 2013.
It proposes to:
- save 4 billion euros in each of the budgets for 2010, 2011 and 2012.
- abolish the ceiling on employee Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI), while reducing a special levy introduced in the 2009 budget on top of income tax
- begin the integration of the special levies into the income tax system
- introduce a carbon tax in the 2010 budget
- charge households for water use above a free basic allowance
- keep Ireland’s low 12.5 percent corporate tax rate
- introduce a new “national performance indicator” based on traditional economic data plus quality of life measurements
- Lenders participating in the National Asset Management Agency, a “bad bank”, will have to pay a levy if NAMA makes a loss after it is wound up or after 10 years, to limit taxpayers’ exposure to the scheme.
- The levy, which will be enshrined in law, will be “carefully judged so as not to disrupt the stability and sustainability of the banking system”.
- Education is to be prioritised when allocating scarce resources, protecting it from spending cuts - Pupil/teacher ratios will not be increased, and 500 extra teachers are to be provided
- No fees to be imposed for tertiary (college) education
- Ireland will target a 3 percent annual average cut in greenhouse gas emissions
- It will replace culling of badgers with “more effective humane methods of control”
- It will phase out fur farming over three years, and ban stag hunting
The programme pledges the government to
- Aim to restrict direct political donations to political parties and candidates; consider system of donations to a new “political fund” to be distributed in accordance with parties’ performance at the previous parliamentary poll. - Reform the system of deputies’ expenses, demanding receipts for, and publication of, all outlay
- Review travel and expense guidelines for ministers and senior office holders (Reporting by Andras Gergely; Editing by Kevin Liffey)