Alternative to €3bn cuts proposed

AN alternative taxation strategy to the Government’s cutback agenda was outlined yesterday in Dublin by the Community Platform campaign group.

The ‘4Steps2Recovery’ strategy document aims at increasing the taxes paid by the most wealthy third of Irish society while also focusing on stimulating the economy and job creation.

At an event in Buswell’s Hotel, Dublin, spokeswoman Anne Costello said: “The Community Platform is challenging the current political and economic rhetoric that is focused on ‘cutbacks’. To get back on the road to recovery we need new, fresh thinking and that is what we are proposing today.” She added: “We are launching four tax reform proposals that will raise approximately €3 billion, without inflicting any additional burden on low and middle income families.”

The Community Platform document, which is based on research by the progressive think tank Tasc, draws attention to the fact that since the 1980s a growing amount of wealth in Ireland has gone untaxed, the wealthiest being able to reduce their tax contribution significantly through Government-created generous tax breaks and failure to close tax loopholes.

It estimates that last year the Exchequer lost €7.4bn as a result of the tax break regime, which is over three times more generous than the EU average. The document also calls for changes to pension relief, pointing out that a recent Economic and Social Research Institute study showed that 80% of the tax relief available on pension contributions goes to the top 20% of earners.

Launching the proposals, Barnardos chief executive Fergus Finlay said they were a key contribution to the public debate ahead of December’s budget.

He said that cuts in child benefit, support for unemployed people, people with disabilities and carers all caused “immense hardship” and did “absolutely nothing to turn the economy around”.


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