Friday 28 November 2014

Burton wants 'ability to pay' clause added to property tax

Published 23/06/2014 | 02:30

Labour Party leadership election candidate Joan Burton at the Labour Party hustings in Portlaoise. Photo: Tony Gavin
Labour Party leadership election candidate Joan Burton at the Labour Party hustings in Portlaoise. Photo: Tony Gavin

LABOUR Party leadership favourite Joan Burton says she wants to see an "ability to pay" clause attached to the property tax.

However, Ms Burton told the Irish Independent she was talking about a change to the property tax in the future, rather than in the lifetime of the Coalition.

Speaking at the latest Labour Party leadership debate in Portlaoise, Ms Burton said the extreme left in Ireland were the only left-wing grouping against a property tax. But she believed property tax had to be applied fairly.

"One of the things that has to be done into the future is take some account of ability to pay," she said.

When asked if she was talking about a change being on the agenda presuming she becomes Tanaiste, Ms Burton stressed she was not mooting it as a policy for this Government.

Her leadership opponent, Alex White, said he was in favour of a wealth tax – but claimed Fine Gael would not allow it to become government policy.

Mr White pointed to a report by the Nevin Economic Research Institute, which has proposed a wealth tax which could raise €150m from a tax of 0.6pc on all assets above €1m.

The junior health minister clarified he was talking about a party policy for the future.

"We are not going to get it past Fine Gael at the moment. But I think it should be part of our policy development running into the next general election," he said.

Meanwhile, Taoiseach Enda Kenny's and Ms Burton's advisers are already making plans for a new coalition deal.

Mr Kenny's staff has let Ms Burton's aides know that a full renegotiation of the Programme for Government is not an option. However, a special focus on a number of key policy areas will be teased out. The parties have identified housing, mortgage arrears, political reform, and tax as priorities.

Irish Independent

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