independent

Sunday 20 April 2014

Middle income earners likely to get personal tax cuts - Varadkar

VARADKAR: Bilocation?

TRANSPORT Minister Leo Varadkar has indicated middle income earners are likely to benefit from personal tax cuts.

However he indicated any cuts are not likely to be made until the budget for 2016, with next year's budget coming too soon.

Launching the Brain Injury and Sport European Conference, Mr Varadkar told the Herald he would personally support income tax cuts.

"It's early days to be talking about the budget for next year and the budget for next year could still be va difficult budget,  there are still some further adjustments to make. But there are lots of moving parts.

"It will depend on growth in the economy and will depend on a number of other factors but it is definitely the view of the government that if not in the budget for 2015, then certainly in the one for 2016 we do want to give something back.  People have made enormous sacrifices over the last six years to help the country get out of the bailout in the way it has this weekend," he said.

He said the current tax system was "unfair" on middle income earners who are having to pay the highest tax rate,  something he described as unusual in European countries.

"One of the features of our taxation system, which relatively speaking has income taxes a little bit lower than most other countries and has a progressive taxation system in that the best off pay the most by a mile.

"One thing that is very much a feature of our  income tax system is that people pay the higher income tax very quickly.  A single person hitting about €33,000 a year pays the highest rate of income tax and that's not fair. It's very unusual by European standards and if we're in a position to reduce taxes, we'd like to give some relief there for middle income people," he said.

He said it was his own personal view that there were some personal tax cuts, where possible,  adding "Fine Gael has always been the party of middle Ireland and a low tax party. One thing we've been able to achieve as a government in three years is not having increased income tax so we'd definitely like to give some relief to middle income earners in particular."

Also speaking at today's event is Dr Barry O'Driscoll, uncle to Brian O'Driscoll.  Dr O'Driscoll resigned from the IRFU because of their new five minute assessment of rugby players with suspected concussion.

He told the Herald the policy could result in fatalities and said a real concern was how little is really known about brain injury and cincussion.

The event is being organised by Acquired Brain Injury Ireland who estimate that 13,000 people suffer from a head injury in Ireland every year and face a dramatically altered life thereafter.

Other speakers at today's event include Dublin inter county footballers Michael Dara MacAuley and Rory O'Carroll as well as rugby pundit George Hook, former Irish rugby star Denis Leamy and experts in the area of sport injury.

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