In 2001 the then minister of finance introduced a scheme to encourage regular savings by individuals :
SSIA, SSIA's, Irish Government Savings Scheme , State, SSIA Products Finfacts IrelandFor every amount saved in the scheme, the Exchequer will contribute to the individual saver’s account an additional 25% of that amount. This is equivalent to giving tax relief on savings at the standard rate of income tax.
Would a similar scheme aimed at individual debt repayment work?
For every eur spent on servicing personal debt accrued before 2011 (we don't want people taking on additional debt to take advantage of the scheme) the government contributes an additional 25% through giving tax relief on income used to service existing debt. The scheme would run for 12-24 months.
A lot of people are drowning in short term debt on credit cards, medium term loans etc and banks are refusing to issue long term loans to aggregate debts into a single long term repayment. Such a scheme would offer an opportunity to dramatically reduce and shorten the amount of debt owned to banks. Obviously it's expensive to the Irish state both in the lost tax revenue and in disposable incoming being redirected from the wider economy to the banks. But we can take the hit in the short term to reduce individual debt. It offers individuals the option of imposing personal short term austerity to remove the long term weight of debt that is dragging them and us down.