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Sinn Fein admits €800m wealth tax plan not costed

SINN Fein has admitted the centrepiece to its alternative Budget – an €800m wealth tax – hasn't been costed by the Department of Finance.

It is also accepting the Government's figure of a €3.5bn in cuts, taxes or savings for next year. But Sinn Fein's proposed Budget plan would make up the vast majority of this – €2.76bn – through new taxes.

Despite this, party leader Gerry Adams says his is a "fair tax", not a "high tax", Budget.

The party wants to cut TDs' pay from €92,000 to €75,000, senators' from €65,000 to €60,000 and Cabinet members' to €100,000.

Sinn Fein policy is for TDs to only take the average industrial wage and use the rest for constituency activity.

But party finance spokesman Pearse Doherty would not say if Sinn Fein TDs would take the average industrial wage – around €30,000 – and give the rest to the public purse.

Mr Doherty admitted the figure for the wealth tax had not been costed by the Department of Finance, like other measures in its alternative Budget.

But Mr Doherty said the department would not cost the measure, which comprises a 1pc tax on wealth over €1m, as working farms, business assets, 20pc of the family home and pension pots were excluded.

Sinn Fein proposed the same tax last year, and said then it would also save €800m – but last year's pre-Budget documents did not exempt pension pots. Mr Doherty, when asked how the figure of €800m was the same this year when pension pots were excluded, claimed pension pots were not involved last year either.

But Fine Gael Dublin Central TD Paschal Donohoe highlighted what he called a "secret seven of unreversed cuts".

"The measures include closure of garda stations, changes to small rural schools and phasing out child benefit payments for third and subsequent children," he claimed.

Mr Doherty said Sinn Fein was still opposed to these cuts, and said it would lift the public sector embargo to hire another 3,500 teachers, nurses and gardai.

Irish Independent