No going back to boom and bust, says Kenny
Taoiseach vows to cut taxes while driving ‘steady growth’ in line with five-year plan
Taoiseach Enda Kenny: Government’s plan would ensure that work paid more than welfare and the numbers of working people and their children in poverty would be reduced. Photograph: Bloomberg
Taoiseach Enda Kenny has pledged to cap Government spending below the growth rate of the economy if he is returned to office.
In an article in today’s Irish Times to mark the fourth anniversary of the Coalition, Mr Kenny made the pledge as a key element of his plan to avoid future booms and busts.
“Our plan will target steady growth, about 3 per cent a year, not boom and bust. Steady growth of this nature will eliminate the remaining deficit and bring Government debt down to below average European levels without any new taxes or charges, while also allowing for tax reform and targeted improvements in education, childcare, health services and frontline policing,” said Mr Kenny.
He added that the country could never go back to the “when we have it, we spend it” approach of previous governments.
The Taoiseach said that “what was unsustainable during the Celtic Tiger – public sector pay hikes without reform, a narrow tax base, the proliferation of quangos, a welfare system that perpetuated joblessness and poverty – was still unsustainable now. The outlandish spending commitments from the Opposition parties suggest they have learnt nothing from the mistakes of the past.”
Mr Kenny said his plan will offer fair rewards for hard work, not quick profits for speculation. “We will end the discriminatory tax treatment for the self-employed and small businesses, starting in the next budget. But we are never going back to the lack of oversight, wanton waste of public money and blatant disregard to our international reputation that brought our country to the brink.”
He said it was wrong that the Government is taking more than half of every extra euro now being earned by hundreds of thousands of low- and middle-income families. “This will end in the next budget when we will reduce the Universal Social Charge and tax rates further, following the tax cuts introduced earlier this year.”
Mr Kenny also said the Government’s plan would ensure that work paid more than welfare and the numbers of working people and their children in poverty would be reduced.
He said the recovery Ireland was now experiencing could be just the beginning of a more sustainable, authentic and fairer phase of long-term economic and social development and prosperity.
Mr Kenny’s comments follow a pledge by Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams at the Sinn Féin Ardfheis to “abolish water charges”, “scrap the property tax” and “introduce a wealth tax” if the party is in the next government.
Mr Adams also promised to invest in local authority housing and introduce rent controls to help stem the rising tide of homelessness.
Tánaiste Joan Burton yesterday described Sinn Féin’s proposal to introduce a wealth tax on incomes of more than €100,000 as “misguided”.
Speaking at an event to mark International Women’s Day, she said it would mean an increased tax burden on married couples with a combined income of €100,000. “Given that we already have a marginal rate of 51 per cent in relation to people in employment, it means that we’re talking about going up to a very, very high marginal rate. In terms of attracting people home, I don’t think that is sensible.”