Friday 19 January 2018

Labour rebels defy Government by calling for higher taxes in Budget

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

THREE Labour rebels are calling for the introduction of higher income taxes in the Budget in defiance of Government policy.

Labour TDs Patrick Nulty and Tommy Broughan lost the party whip for voting against the Government last year, while Labour Ireland East MEP Nessa Childers recently called on Health Minister Dr James Reilly to resign.

They are calling on the Government to impose a third rate of income tax of 48pc on those earning over €100,000 so that planned spending cuts of €2.25bn can be reduced.

But it is Government policy to leave income tax rates untouched.

Labour Dublin North East TD Tommy Broughan said that he would not support the Budget if it contained further “harsh” health cutbacks.

He said this pre-Budget submission showed there was another way.

“I do think it is the time we have to start thinking very fundamentally about where our country was going,” he said.

Labour MEP Ness Childers argued for Ireland to impose a financial transaction tax which is due to come into force in 11 EU countries in January 2014. But Finance Minister Michael Noonan has ruled out such a tax on the grounds that it would be financially harmful to the financial services industry here when Britain is also not taking part.

The three Labour rebels also want a “wealth tax” based on the French model which sees people with household assets of €800,000 paying a 0.55pc tax after their loans and mortgages are deducted.

Labour Dublin West TD Patrick Nulty said that a “wealth tax” would reduce the impact of the “crippling austerity” that had left almost 500,000 people on the dole. “Why can we not have a wealth tax? If it’s good enough for France, it’s good enough for Ireland,” he said.

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