Tax cut talk premature says Gilmore

FG want concessions for middle classes

 Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: too early for any discussion of easing the tax burden for middle-income earners in the next budget. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore: too early for any discussion of easing the tax burden for middle-income earners in the next budget. Photograph: Alan Betson

Tue, Apr 23, 2013, 05:00

Two senior Labour Party Ministers have said it is premature to anticipate tax concessions for middle-income earners in October’s budget.

The Irish Times yesterday reported a pledge from a senior Fine Gael Minister that those who had borne most of the burden of the recession would get some reduction in their tax bills in next year’s budget.

However, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said it was too early for any discussion of easing the tax burden for middle-income earners in the next budget.

“This is April, the budget is October. I think any discussion of the budget at this stage is purely speculative,” he said.

Mr Gilmore added that the Government’s objective since it took office was to bring an end to austerity.

He was speaking in Luxembourg, where he was chairing a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council of foreign ministers at which the issue of EU enlargement took centre stage

Speculation about this year’s budget has begun in light of preliminary talks on the measures, which are about to begin two months earlier than had been the practice.

This is because the budget for 2014 will be announced on October 15th rather than in December.


Recognising sacrifices
At the weekend a senior Fine Gael figure told The Irish Times that it was time to recognise the sacrifices made by middle-class taxpayers over the past five years who had endured higher taxes and pay cuts.

“We have come to the point now where working people are beginning to suffer from fatigue,” said the Fine Gael Minister, who spoke on the basis of anonymity.

“We need to make a strong gesture to recognise their efforts and to encourage them to spend in the economy again. That in turn will stimulate growth,” he added.


Limits of austerity
However, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton backed Mr Gilmore in suggesting that it was too early to speculate about easing the pressure on middle-class voters for next year.

“Talking about the budget for 2014, I think you will have seen a statement by the Tánaiste this morning setting out the fact that there has been no discussion as yet at Government level in relation to budget 2014 so that is going to be a matter for discussion in a very intensive way by Government over the next few months,” she said.

Ms Burton said that as a consequence of the budget date being moved forward to October 15th the budgetary discussions in relation to different Government departments, including her own, would start much earlier.

“Certainly in the department we are looking very intensely at outcomes that are ongoing at the moment but those discussions in Government have not commenced as yet,” she said

Over the weekend Ms Burton expressed the view that the State had “reached its limits of austerity” and that ordinary people were “shouldering too much of the burden”.

Addressing the annual conference of the St Vincent de Paul society, Ms Burton questioned the approach across the EU for dealing with the economic crisis.