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Sunday 22 April 2018

Income tax cut a 'priority' in Budget, says Enda Kenny

Colm Kelpie and Donal O'Donovan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny says income tax cuts for hard-pressed workers are "a priority" for the Government in next year's Budget.

In a clear indication of the importance the Coalition is placing on reducing the tax burden, Mr Kenny said he recognised the pressure people are under.

The Coalition has been building up an expectation of a tax cut in October's Budget 2015.

Finance Minister Michael Noonan signaled last week the low threshold at which workers hit the higher rate of tax of 41pc will be targeted.

Workers are hit with the marginal rate of tax on income above €32,800.

Lifting the income threshold where the higher rate kicks in is likely to be the focus of any cut in personal tax in the Budget.

Mr Kenny reiterated yesterday that the top rate of tax is reached at "too low a level".

He said examining the issue was a "priority for government".

"We recognise the pressure that so many people are under," he said, at a conference organised by business lobby group IBEC.

"Obviously you can only do this if your budgetary position is such that you can do it. Clearly it's a priority for Government and will be evaluated and analysed as we make preparations for the Budget in October."

Overall tax rates in this country are not unusually high.

But Mr Noonan admitted the income level where the top rate applies is "out of step" with other countries such as Britain.

Mr Noonan said last week that lifting the income threshold where the higher rate kicks in is likely to be the focus of any cut in Budget 2015.

Meanwhile, Bank of Ireland boss Richie Boucher told the IBEC conference banks must never threaten the economy again. Too much competition and lack of discipline in the market in the boom led banks into unsustainable lending, he said. "At a wild party even good girls can get into trouble," he said.

Mr Kenny also said everyone in mortgage arrears would have a sustainable solution put to them by the end of the year.

And Mr Kenny said continued wage restraint was vital for job creation.

"While governments are not a party to private sector wage negotiations and disputes between private companies and their workforces, the Government is committed to supporting a stable industrial relations climate as our economy recovers.

Irish Independent

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