Gilmore favours increased tax for high earners and no welfare cuts


THE LABOUR Party is opposed to cuts in child benefit and social welfare payments, and favours increased income taxes for those earning €100,000 or more, party leader Eamon Gilmore has said.

Mr Gilmore argued the country could afford to keep paying the current social welfare rate of €196 per week for single people, saying there were other ways of reducing the social welfare budget.

He also said that the party would “not hit middle-income Ireland” and was not prepared to raise income taxes for middle earners.

The Government responded yesterday by saying it was very difficult to work out how Labour could honour its pledge to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP by 2014 on the basis of Mr Gilmore’s proposals.

Mr Gilmore also said he was not in favour of introducing a property tax. He did say the party would favour water charges as long as metering was introduced. He also argued for a change in the second-home tax (currently a flat €200 per annum) so that those who owned chalets were not paying the same as those in a “big mansion”.

He said that other cuts and savings could be made through removing inefficiencies; changing capital spending, as well as a cut in the public sector pay bill.

In an interview with the Evening Herald, he instanced reordering the National Development Plan to bring forward projects which created jobs and delaying others, such as Metro North.

A Government spokesman said it would be impossible to reach the 3 per cent figure by 2014.

“There is no way that it could be fulfilled. It’s obvious to anybody reading the interview that it can’t be done.” A Labour Party spokesman responded by saying the Government was in no position to lecture any other party about their proposals as it had itself not made any decision as yet.

“Labour will product a fully costed pre-budget document as was done last year, which we will publish at the appropriate time.”