Wednesday 17 January 2018

Think-tank: Tax junk food and cigarettes to raise exchequer revenue

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

Taxes on economic 'bads' like carbon emissions, gambling, cigarettes and junk food are needed to raise revenue for the exchequer, it was claimed.

Tasc - Think-tank for Action on Social Change - also called on Government to cut the overall adjustment needed in the upcoming budget from 3.1bn euro to 2.7bn euro and to introduce a wealth tax.


Dr Nat O'Connor, director, said its goal is to demonstrate there are alternative ways to close the deficit that are consistent with equality and social justice.


"Tasc is outlining a fully-costed set of budgetary measures that, in combination, would lead to a more equitable recovery, while achieving the Government's deficit targets," he said.


"If the Dail votes for further cuts in public expenditure programmes, the consequence will be further harm to Ireland's growth potential, increasing poverty and growing societal inequality, all of which will act against the goal of stabilising the national debt and deficit."


The independent think-tank will launch its pre-budget analysis later today, which it claims gives Government more choices for a better and more equitable budget.


Proposals include no further reductions in public spending beyond the 350m euro to be achieved as part of the Haddington Road pay agreement and 1.5bn euro investment from the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund to fill the gap in the new lower adjustment.


Elsewhere it wants reforms to pension tax reliefs, increase in employer's PRSI on the proportion of salaries over 100,000 euro, a net wealth tax and changes to other capital taxes - all which it claimed would collectively generate almost 1bn euro in revenue for the exchequer.


The Government is expected to announce an adjustment of 3.1 billion euro in the budget this October - made up of spending cuts and tax hikes. Its target is to reduce its deficit to 3% of GDP in 2015


Tasc economist Dr Tom McDonnell said international evidence shows the direction being taken in Ireland and Europe will lead to much greater economic and social harm than was initially believed by the European Commission, IMF and the Department of Finance.


"On the contrary, the evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of using revenue measures to lowering Ireland's deficit, in tandem with targeted investment to prevent high levels of long-term structural unemployment," he added.


Officials figures yesterday revealed 435,280 people - including 196,808 long-term unemployed - remain on the dole last month as the unemployment rate fell slightly to 13.4%.

Press Association

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