Independent TDs urge an end to public spending cuts and introduction of wealth tax

Group insists it is not a new party alliance

 Catherine Murphy: said there was  “common ground” between them on the budget but they were not forming a new alliance. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Catherine Murphy: said there was “common ground” between them on the budget but they were not forming a new alliance. Photograph: Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Fri, Oct 11, 2013, 01:00

A group of Independent TDs has called for next week’s budget to introduce a wealth tax and a 48 per cent tax rate when salaries go above €100,000.

They are urging Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to focus on reducing unemployment and not to make any more cuts to public spending.

The group includes former Labour TDs Patrick Nulty and Tommy Broughan, who lost the party whip, and Independent TDs Catherine Murphy, Thomas Pringle and John Halligan.

Ms Murphy said there was “common ground” between them on the budget but they were not forming a new alliance. She said there might be other “opportunities into the future” which they might also take a stand on and which could include other TDs.


Concentration of wealth
Instead of cutting public spending, €2.045 billion could be raised by increasing taxes on the wealthier in society, a report by the group says. The concentration of wealth in Ireland is one of the highest among the pre-2004 EU states with 28 per cent of all wealth owned by just 1 per cent of the population, it adds.

A wealth tax could bring in between €400-€500 million, while taxing salaries when they go above €100,000 could net €365 million. The group also wants to increase capital gains and acquisition tax from 33 per cent to 40 per cent, bringing in €170 million, and to confine tax relief on pension and retirement schemes to 30 per cent from the current 41 per cent, bringing in €245 million. It urges the Government to adopt a financial transactions tax, which would bring in €163 million.

By halting further cuts to public spending, unemployment could be reduced, it says. The group also wants to see investment in education, training and broadband and a reduction in the 100,000 waiting list for social housing.

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