Tuesday 24 January 2017

Fine Gael touts public sector and tax reform

Published 03/12/2010 | 16:02

With the Government's plans for swingeing cuts four days away, Fine Gael set out a three-pronged approach to tackling the stricken economy.

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The main opposition party's budget focuses on job creation, radical public sector reform and tax changes to turn around the Exchequer deficit.

Key proposals from Fine Gael:

- Defer income tax rises to after 2011 and limit changes to bring in about €1bn extra. No change in standard or top rates or corporation tax;

- Slash the number of TDs and Senators by 79;

- Close Fas and the Health Service Executive and abolish 145 quangos;

- More emphasis on closing tax loopholes - suspend property- based relief, tighten rules on exiles and cut relief on pension plans expect for middle income homes. Target extra tax from those on generous occupational pensions;

- The party claimed there is €3bn of social welfare fraud a year which could be targeted through a single Payments and Entitlements system;

- More than double the planned reduction in public servants, taking 30,000 out of the sector and reduce the Civil Service by one third by creating "shared services operations";

- Protect the old age pension, and payments to widows, the blind, disabled people and carers;

- End the €10 travel tax and pump €10m into a one-off marketing drive for state agencies to restore Ireland's battered business reputation around the world;

- Cut employers' costs by abolishing the lower 8.5pc rate of PRSI on staff earning below €356 a week for at least three years;

- No minimum wage cut;

- Cut the lower 13.5pc rate of VAT to re-direct consumer spending away from imports and into labour-intensive services such as trades, restaurants, hotels and newspapers.

- End the home insulation grant scheme in 2013 to force demand into a tight two-year period;

- Put together a "fairer" tax on property.

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