People want to pay USC, says party that won’t cut taxes

The Social Democrats, promising to engage in “honest politics”, will not cut taxes if they enter government and have claimed voters on the doorsteps are saying they want to pay the Universal Social Charge.

They say the major parties are proposing to erode the tax base, leaving Ireland vulnerable to volatile changes in the global economy.

It indicates that the Social Democrats would pursue a legal case against the ECB for forcing Ireland to absorb losses during the crash and seek a full writedown of €25bn in debt related to Anglo Irish Bank.

Launching the party’s economic outlook for Ireland, Wicklow TD Stephen Donnelly said the outgoing coalition’s pre-election promises were right out of a Fianna Fáil handbook.

Fine Gael has promised to abolish the USC while Labour wants to reduce it. Abolishing it completely would reduce exchequer income by €4bn a year, estimates suggest.

Mr Donnelly and the party’s candidates pledged yesterday not to promise voters reductions in the USC or income tax levels during the election campaign. The decision is in stark contrast to other parties, including Renua Ireland, which is promoting the idea of a flat tax of 23% for all workers.

The Social Democrats are advocating abolishing water charges, saying the price of what consumers pay is only just keeping Irish Water operating.

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Mr Donnelly warned that another “economic shock could be coming Ireland’s way”, especially with reduced growth in China.

Instead of reducing taxes, the party wants to see reduced costs of living for people. It would include tackling high insurance and energy prices. More insurance cases could be settled through non-judicial deals, passing on savings to consumers, says the party.

Mr Donnelly pointed out that the recent global reduction in oil costs is not being passed on and demanded that childcare costs also be cut.

“We’re trying to engage in honest politics. Don’t cut taxes, but invest in services like broadband, education, and healthcare,” said Mr Donnelly.

Businesswomen and Dublin Bay South party candidate Glenna Lynch said: “People are standing up and saying: ‘We will pay the USC.’ Irish people are well ahead of the Government on this. Irish people know when they are being sold a pup.”

Ireland is too reliant on jobs and tax income from multinationals in a similar way to how the boom was previously on stamp duty receipts, noted the Social Democrats.

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