Finance Bill puts West Cork home owners and fairness front and centre

Changes to the USC and mortgage interest relief will help alleviate pressure

Fine Gael Deputy for Cork South West today has said the provisions contained in the Finance Bill 2012, on changes to the Universal Social Charge and mortgage interest relief, are aimed at alleviating the pressure on those most in need and rebalancing the scales in favour of fairness.

“The publication of the Finance Bill 2012, gives effect to the targeted measures announced in this year’s Budget. Contained within the Bill is a provision to increase mortgage interest relief to 30% for first-time buyers who purchased their homes between 2004 and 2008.

“This measure will have a significant impact on many families and young people in West Cork, who bought during the peak and are now mired in negativity equity. This was a pre-election promise made by Fine Gael, which formed part of the Programme for Government, that the naysayers said couldn’t be done. Fine Gael has long recognised the plight of the negative equity generation and I am delighted that the Minister for Finance has been able to deliver on this commitment, despite the difficult economic situation.

“Changes to the Universal Social Charge, the exemption threshold for which has been increased from €4,004 to €10,036, will remove 330,000 people from the tax net and put much needed money back in their pockets.

“The mistakes of the past, in respect of our heady love affair with property, can never be allowed to happen again. However, every country should have a functioning property market that contributes to Exchequer funds. For this reason, the Minister has included a provision for mortgage interest relief to be available at 25% for first-time buyers who purchase in 2012 and at a rate of 15% for non-first-time buyers. This will encourage those people across West Cork who are hoping to get on the property ladder, or to move house, to do so this year.

“The Government is working hard to clean up the mess created by Fianna Fáil over the last decade. The Personal Insolvency Bill, the heads of which have been published recently, together with the targeted and effective measures contained in the Finance Bill, will help to alleviate the pressure on those in negative equity and lower paid workers in West Cork while offering a stimulus to those hoping to own their own home.