Monday 26 September 2016

'Business must pay levy for colleges'

Published 25/03/2016 | 02:30

John MacGabhann, General Secretary of the TUI. Photo: Tommy Clancy
John MacGabhann, General Secretary of the TUI. Photo: Tommy Clancy

Business should pay an extra 1pc levy on their profits to help tackle the funding crisis in third-level education, according to a lecturers union.

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At current rates, it would mean about €400m a year extra in corporation tax - almost half of the additional funding needed to put higher education on a sound financial footing in coming years.

Teachers' Union of Ireland (TUI) general secretary John MacGabhann said the case for the levy was compelling.

He said the corporate sector derived direct and valuable benefit from the availability of highly-skilled graduates.

He said the levy would facilitate the employment of thousands of additional academic staff and could be used to remove the €3,000 student registration charge.

The TUI represents 4,000 lecturers in institutes of technology, a number of which are in severe financial difficulty.

Higher education in Ireland has suffered a significant reduction in revenue in recent years, as a result of Government cutbacks.

Mr MacGabhann said funding for the institute of technology sector fell by €190m (35pc) between 2008 and 2015 while student numbers rose by 21,411 (32pc). Some 535 (9.5pc) lecturing positions were lost.

He said at 12.5pc, the standard rate of corporation tax in Ireland was low by international standards, and that a further 1pc would represent only a modest adjustment.

The TUI general secretary insisted that the levy would not inhibit inward investment or employment generation.

Irish Independent

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