Wednesday 22 November 2017

Bruton stands by call for tax cut in Budget despite Varadkar attack

Richard Bruton: ‘tax rate has impact on jobs’
Richard Bruton: ‘tax rate has impact on jobs’

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton is standing by his call for lower income tax rates – rejecting criticism from his cabinet colleague Leo Varadkar in a row over Budget 'kite flying'.

There has been intense lobbying already within the Coalition about the October Budget – with Mr Bruton calling for cuts to income tax for ordinary working families.

That prompted criticism from Mr Varadkar, who said it would be better if ministers talked to each other first "before flying kites in the media".

But Mr Bruton said he had consistently pointed out that the tax rates on workers had an impact on jobs.

"If we want to drive growth in jobs, we have to recognise this is an area where at an early point we need to take action," he said.

Mr Bruton has highlighted the need to allow workers on average incomes to earn more money before paying the top 52pc rate of tax.

The highest rate of 52pc tax kicks in at €32,800 for a single PAYE worker and €41,800 for a single-income family.

The October Budget is due to take up to €3.1bn out of the economy in extra taxes and spending cuts – but the Government may be able to reduce this figure by €1bn if tax revenue increases by 1pc and spending drops by 1pc.

Mr Bruton said he believed there was an awareness of the impact of the current tax regime on workers and jobs – with Finance Minister Michael Noonan talking recently about the importance of tax being part of "our competitiveness offering".

FRAUD

"This would be an issue that has to be decided in Cabinet, and there are other competing requests. But that's the position I would advocate," he said.

Mr Bruton was speaking in the East Point Business Park in Dublin at the announcement of a joint Government-industry task force on 'big data' – the gathering and analysing of massive amounts of data to generate useful findings.

Insurance companies are using 'big data' tools to detect fraud in their insurance claims – and to get a better idea of how to price their insurance policies.

The Budget is due to be delivered two months earlier this year – on October 15 – to comply with new EU rules allowing countries to supervise each other's budgets.

With the Dail busy with the abortion and Seanad referendum bills until the end of next month, and most of the country's politicians and civil servants taking their holidays as usual in August, it means that the key Budget negotiations will be taking place in September.

But a Government source insisted that there would still be plenty of time to thrash out the Budget under the new schedule.

Irish Independent

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