Saturday 14 December 2019

Hitting high earners for more tax could harm investment, says Bruton

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke

Colm Kelpie

ENTERPRISE Minister Richard Bruton has suggested that increasing taxes on high earners could have a negative impact on investment.

He warned that Ireland must be conscious of the issue as the IDA announced 6,570 jobs were created by foreign multinationals here last year.

Fine Gael and Labour have been exchanging statements over a minister's claim that there will be no more income tax rises during the lifetime of the Government.

The spat follows Fine Gael's rejection of Labour's proposal in the Budget to increase the Universal Social Charge for those on more than €100,000.

At the announcement of the IDA 2012 results, Mr Bruton would not be drawn specifically on how targeting the well-off with higher taxes would affect job creation, saying he did not want to talk about budgetary strategy.

Scrapped

But he added: "I'm saying that (concerning) our impact on international competitiveness and our ability to attract investment, we have to be conscious of this issue. I'm not trying to make a pronouncement about budgetary strategy in the years ahead."

Finance Minister Michael Noonan revealed after the Budget last month that Labour plans for a 3pc increase in the Universal Social Charge for those earning more than €100,000 were scrapped amid approaches from the multinational sector.

Labour backed down after Fine Gael countered with a proposal to slash welfare rates.

Mr Bruton's comments came as the IDA revealed that 12,722 jobs in the multinational sector were created last year, though 6,152 were lost, leaving the net jobs figure at 6,570. Total employment in the sector last year was 152,785, up from 146,215 in 2011.

The minister also offered a robust defence of Ireland's 12.5pc corporation tax rate, insisting the country had always been transparent regarding the tax rate imposed on corporate profits.

Irish Independent

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