Wednesday 1 March 2017

Fine Gael TDs press to make the abolition of USC an election pledge

Niall O'Connor and Daniel McConnell

Michael Noonan
Michael Noonan

Fine Gael TDs want to make a commitment to gradually abolish USC a key plank of their election manifesto.

There is a growing desire within the party to bring an end to the charge which was originally announced as an emergency measure in the wake of the economic crash.

Labour Party leader Joan Burton has already said that she sees scope for it to be phased out over time.

And now sources within Fine Gael say that such a promise could be a major boost to re-election chances.

Mr Noonan was asked about the matter on radio yesterday and said people would have to wait until the Budget.

But a Fine Gael strategist said there was a growing view that bringing an end to USC should be considered as part of a long-term plan, outlined in the election manifesto.

"We are looking at telling voters that we can bring an end to USC eventually, perhaps by the end of the next term, if the economic environment allows," the source said.

A Department of Finance source was cautious on the mooted Fine Gael plans to phase out the USC in the lifetime of the next Government.

It is felt political hopes to eliminate the USC is more fitting a proposal for an election manifesto and not under consideration at the moment by the department.

But, there is a recognition that the USC is the most effective way of returning money to the public's pockets.

Irish Independent

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