Sunday 19 November 2017

Tax rules hit those on 'far too modest incomes' - Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar TD Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Middle income families pay the highest rates of tax on "far too modest incomes", Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will tell Fine Gael TDs today.

At his first party think-in as leader, Mr Varadkar will outline his vision for a 'Republic of Opportunities' which will be built on three broad principles.

The Irish Independent understands the Taoiseach intends to set the policy agenda he believes Fine Gael should carry into the next election.

And he will talk about the need to provide "second chances" for people who have fallen on hard times.

In relation to next month's budget, Mr Varadkar will tell TDs and senators that Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe is putting together a package "to keep Ireland secure in a risky world".

"So we will keep public spending increases modest and sustainable.

"However, where we have scope in the budget, it will be used to reward work and enterprise, and will benefit those on middle incomes who pay the highest rates of tax on far too modest incomes...there should be no cap on aspiration in the Republic we wish to build," he will say.

Sources said last night that he will define 'middle income' as workers earning close to the average industrial wage.

Outlining his definition of the so-called 'Republic of Opportunities', Mr Varadkar will describe three key concepts which he believes Fine Gael should respect.

"One - that everyone has an equal opportunity to be the best person they can be, that everyone gets a fair go and, in particular, that every child has the chance to grow up to be the best person they can be.

"Two - that every part of the country has the opportunity to share in our recovery and prosperity.

"And three - that there are second chances for all those who need them," he will say.

Mr Varadkar will also use his opening address at the event in Clonmel, Co Tipperary, to make a commitment to steadily increase overseas development aid.

It is understood he will also pay tribute to independent ministers Shane Ross, Denis Naughten and Katherine Zappone for their work.

Meanwhile, Solidarity/People Before Profit has ruled out working with Sinn Féin as part of a left-wing alliance after the next election.

Richard Boyd Barrett said that Sinn Féin is making a "big mistake" by toying with the idea of "propping up Fianna Fáil or Fine Gael".

Sinn Féin said Solidarity/PBP has "effectively ruled itself out of government".

Irish Independent

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