Budget must not reward cowboy builders, says Higgins

Cowboy builders who have left local authorities with unfinished estates and unpaid development fees must not be rewarded by Budget 2014 with construction sector VAT reduction.

This is the view of Labour Galway senator Lorraine Higgins who was reacting to speculation that this particular VAT was to be reduced.

“I welcome any measures designed to help generate employment,” she said, “however, I would be horrified at NAMA developers getting a tax break from the Government.”

Sen Higgins said if the proposed reduction on VAT is restricted to “genuine tradesmen and small builders”, it could prove a “great initiative”, but that outside of this such a move would be wrong.

“There are thousands of half built monuments testament to the greed and avarice of the Irish property developer all over Ireland, including in my own county of Galway,” she said. “To be considering giving a VAT reduction to the people who brought us half finished building sites, with hoarding falling down and unsafe for people to enter, let alone live in, is something we seriously need to reflect upon.”

Sen Higgins has urged the Economic Management Council - the grouping within the Cabinet made up of An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, Finance Minister Michael Noonan, Public Expenditure Minister Brendan Howlin, and unelected officials - to “take a careful look at ensuring that the developers who destroyed this country do not get to benefit” from any VAT reduction


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