Kenny's economic policy looks towards election
Published 17/07/2015 | 02:30
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pledged to bring the recovery to working families as Fine Gael's pre-election promises ramp up a gear.
As the Government's National Economic Dialogue kicked off in Dublin Castle, Mr Kenny insisted he would serve the full government term until spring of next year.
And he pledged that there would be no lavish promises to voters in efforts to get re-elected.
However, on the same morning he highlighted his plans to cut childcare costs, expand early childhood education, make further cuts to the hated Universal Social Charge and create more jobs in the economy than ever before. But the Taoiseach said the Government would not go outside the €1.2bn to €1.5bn window highlighted in the Spring Economic Statement, no matter how good tax receipts prove to be.
Mr Kenny said there are families for whom the recovery hasn't arrived.
"The reality is that many people do not yet see, and do not yet feel the benefits of a recovering economy," the Taoiseach said.
"All remain nervous about the risks ahead and the danger of slipping back.
"My commitment to the Irish people is that - under this Government - we are never going back."
Mr Kenny also reiterated his pledge to cut the 7pc rate of Universal Social Charge to reduce the marginal tax rate on all those earning less than €70,000 per year to below 50pc.
Mr Kenny said the aim is to bring to half a million the total number of low income workers that will have been removed from the USC net.
He said that by 2018, the Government aims to have replaced every job lost during the recession and by 2019 the expectation is that more people will be at work in Ireland than ever before.
Members of the Cabinet, the Opposition, and representatives of business bodies, trade unions, and social groups were attending the two-day event in Dublin Castle. The Small Firms Association told the gathering that the self-employed are getting a raw deal from the tax system which is suffocating the creation of new jobs.
The head of the Association has also warned more broadband investment is needed to help start-up businesses get off the ground.
"Tax reform is key to unlocking job creation, investment and growth," said SFA Chairman, AJ Noonan.
He said capital gains tax is another area that must be urgently addressed by the Government.
"Small business can lead the way in helping Ireland to continue to recover faster and stronger than others," said Mr Noonan.