USC cuts should be prioritised over other income tax changes - Micheál Martin
FIANNA Fáil leader Micheál Martin is prioritising Universal Social Charge (USC) cuts over other income tax changes in the upcoming Budget.
Mr Martin said that reductions in the USC are provided for in the Confidence and Supply Agreement with Fine Gael.
He said he would “absolutely” prefer to see that happen over income tax measures like changing tax bands or raising the standard rate cut-off point.
While Mr Martin is prioritising USC, Fine Gael has been pushing for income tax cuts with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar signalling that he’d like to see income tax changes worth €600 for an average worker within two year.
Speaking to reporters at his party’s Malahide think-in Mr Martin said: “We are in Budget negotiations with the government at the moment and in terms of prioritisation, investment in services has to be the prioritisation this year within the amount of funding that’s made available.
“But we do believe that some modest reductions in Universal Social Charge in line with the last two years focusing on the lower paid and middle income would be desirable.”
Asked if he’d prefer to see USC cuts over other income tax measures he replied: “Yes, absolutely”.
Mr Martin also outlined health measures his party want to see in the Budget including increased funding for the National Treatment Purchase Fund (NTPF) to help cut hospital waiting lists and €55m for mental health services.
He also indicated that he is open to revenue raising measures including looking at the VAT for the hospitality sector.