Overall, the four year plan repeats many of the things that we have seen before. It is not a new strategy. It is more of the same. The broadening of the tax base and the pension reform are steps in the right direction. Strikingly, there is no culling of quangos and no privatization. There will be a poll tax rather than a property tax. R&D will be stimulated by abolishing the tax exemption for patent royalties.
On energy, there is little to say. Essentially, the intention is to continue to pump billions of euros into renewable energy with the intention to make energy more expensive.
The carbon tax will be doubled between now and 2014, but coal and peat are apparently still exempt, and the subsidies for insulation and renewable heating remain. Doing away with exemptions and subsidies would bring in roughly the same amount of money, and would remove distortions in the economy.
Water charging will be postponed to 2014. That probably means that DEHLG still plans for a 3-year, top-down programme to roll-out water meters, paid by the NPRF! A system with a flat-water-charge-unless-you-install-a-meter-yourself can be up and running in a year.
Tax reliefs will fall for pollution control on farms. REPS payments will fall too.
No specific announcements for waste or transport (but see Hugh Sheehy’s comment #8).
From the perspective of energy and the environment, this four-year plan is the tired repetition of moves.