Wednesday, October 16 08:03:45
After an extensive leaking exercise to soften up the public over the past week, there were few surprises left in Budget 2014 - apart from the extent of the stimulus package designed to dull the impact of another round of spending cuts and tax increases.
As with every budget, the big question is whether there is some measure that will jump out from the rest to cause serious embarrassment for the Government. Lobby groups for the elderly are the most adept at getting any reduction in their entitlements accepted as the most unfair element of recent budgets, despite incontrovertible evidence that they have suffered less in the recession than any other group.
This budget contains some further curtailment in entitlements for the elderly. Among the most significant are abolition of the telephone allowance and reduction in the income threshold for the over-70s medical card to E900 a week for a couple and E500 for an individual. The Irish Times
Two US senators who have sharply criticised Ireland's loose tax laws for allowing American multinationals to avoid taxes have described the Government's promise to close a loophole as "encouraging."
Democrat Carl Levin and Republican John McCain said they hoped yesterday's pledge by Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to tackle the use of "stateless" Irish companies by US multinationals to lower their taxes would show that Ireland is "ready to close the door on these egregious corporate tax abuses."
The Government plans to introduce a change that will force Irish companies to declare tax residency in a different jurisdiction or else be held liable for the Irish corporate tax rate of 12.5 per cent in 2015. The Irish Times
German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble reiterated German opposition to using the ESM fund to directly recapitalise Irish banks yesterday, saying the current ESM treaty did not allow for retroactive action, and adding that the process would require a change in German legislation.
"The retroactive bank recapitalisation is not probable for the time being. In Germany, we need a change of German legislation," Mr Schauble said, on the fringes of an EU finance ministers' meeting in Luxembourg, adding that such a step could be "as difficult as a referendum in Ireland". Retroactive direct recapitalisation for Ireland was "not probable", he said. "I don't see any necessity for this. We think Ireland is doing very well. Ireland did what Ireland had to do . . . now everything is fine." The Irish Times
Intel the chipmaker that gets more than 80 per cent of revenue from the personal-computer market, forecast sales that may top some analysts' estimates as demand for server processors helped make up for a slump in PCs. Fourth-quarter revenue will be $13.2- $14.2 billion, the company said tonight in a statement. That compared with the average analysts' projection of $14 billion.
Gross margin, or the percentage of sales remaining after deducting production costs, will be about 61 per cent, Intel said, in line with estimates. While Intel's processors have failed to gain much ground with tablet and smartphone makers, the company has benefited from their popularity because it supplies the main component in nine out of 10 of the server machines that dish out data to mobile devices. The Irish Times
Shares in Independent News and Media (INM) jumped as much as 11pc yesterday after first-half profits were boosted by a better advertising performance coupled with tight cost controls. Shares ended the session up 9pc at 7.3c each yesterday.
The publisher of the Irish Independent, 'Sunday Independent' and 'Herald' said revenue from its online operations surged 18.2pc between July and October 11. That followed an 8.2pc rise in the first half of the year. It means online revenue has risen 11.9pc so far this year.
"A slowing rate of decline in print advertising coupled with accelerating online advertising revenue growth is a welcome relief for IN and M," said Davy Stockbroker analyst Simon McGrotty. The Irish Independent