Call for Government to scrap plans for ‘tax on childbirth’

Government plans to tax maternity benefit have been branded the “nastiest” part of the budget and effectively a “tax on childbirth”.

Call for Government to scrap plans for ‘tax on childbirth’

The taxation measure, which takes effect in July, was declared anti-women and anti-family by Fianna Fáil.

The claims were made as members of the coalition parties also sought changes to the Finance Bill and budget measures planned for 2013.

Changes needed to be made to the property tax and incentives were also needed to get people back to work, Government TDs argued.

Fianna Fáil TD Sean Fleming said plans to tax maternity benefit in July needed to be scrapped.

He said the tax was the “meanest, nastiest, and worst aspect” of the Finance Bill, adding: “A tax on maternity benefit is effectively a tax on childbirth. It is anti-women, anti-child, and anti-family,” he told the Dáil.

Fine Gael’s Anthony Lawlor called on Finance Minister Michael Noonan to set up a fund for young entrepreneurs. They could not access funds as they had no credit history with lenders, he added.

He suggested a €750,000 fund be set up, €250,000 of which would come from the State, while the rest could come from private firms such as Google or Facebook.

Party colleague Damien English called for tax relief for communities using their own money to repair roads.

“It is not ideal that our local authorities cannot keep up with the crumbling roads,” the Meath West TD told the Dáil. The same type of measures were used to help repair schools under a previous government, he said.

Meath East TD Regina Doherty raised issues about the property tax and families who had already paid huge tax bills for homes, asking the minister to consider the matter.

She said that a couple who bought a house during the property bubble would have paid about €15,000 in stamp duty on a €300,000 home. That home has probably halved in value now, she added.

Stamp duty from residential property had also brought around €1bn into the exchequer during the boom, the Dáil heard.

Fine Gael TD Paschal Donohoe called for exemptions from the property tax for owners affected by flooding.

“If a house has been flooded and it faces the risk of future flooding, it is worth less than a home that has not been flooded and is unlikely to be flooded in the future. The property tax valuation model must make this distinction.”

Independent TD Shane Ross called on the Government to reduce the 12.5% corporation tax even further to attract multinationals to Ireland. He said the more, “the better because they will produce more jobs”.

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