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Coalition split on Burton minimum wage call

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Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke

Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke

Joan Burton. Photo: Tom Burke

JOAN Burton's demand for a minimum wage hike has annoyed senior Fine Gael figures because it "flies in the face" of creating inward investment.

The Social Protection Minister was accused of going on a "solo run" by her coalition colleagues after she called for the introduction of a "living wage".

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said the Government should instead focus on tax reforms, and warned that any wage move could hit job creation.

He argued that people with incomes over €32,800 were taxed at the marginal rate, with anything above that hit for 52pc.

"I have said consistently the low rate at which people hit the high rate of tax is a barrier to job creation," he added.

"I think that all parties in Government want to see a change in that area."

But Fine Gael members went a step further and claimed Mr Bruton was staunchly opposed to the Social Protection Minister's calls.

"Raising the minimum wage flies straight in the face of our attempts at trying to create more inward investment and job creation," a senior source added. "Joan Burton is going on a solo run on this one."

CONTENTIOUS

The row comes after Ms Burton used a speech to call for a "gradual phasing-in" of hikes and said a living wage scheme could begin on a voluntary basis.

"A living wage would be higher than the minimum wage and would provide the income necessary to meet basic needs, including housing and healthcare, on top of items such as food and heating," she added.

The issue is likely to become more contentious as the parameters of the Budget are drawn.

HNEWS@HERALD.IE


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