Peter McVerry brands cuts to top rate of tax ‘outrageous’

Social campaigner accuses Government of planning ‘conjuring trick’ in Budget

Fr Peter McVerry: ‘whatever few bob are going to be given to [people who are struggling] in the budget are going to be taken back in water charges’. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

Fr Peter McVerry: ‘whatever few bob are going to be given to [people who are struggling] in the budget are going to be taken back in water charges’. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

 

Social campaigner Peter McVerry has said he is “outraged” at the prospect of budget cuts to the top rate of tax.

He accused the Government of planning a “conjuring trick”.

Speaking ahead of the inaugural Peter McVerry Trust business breakfast in the Westbury Hotel in Dublin city centre this morning, he said tax moves proposed by Government would assist the better off.

“I’m absolutely dismayed at idea that the tax cuts are going to be at the top rate of tax. That horrifies me. I really can’t express how outraged I would be at that,” he said.

“Because basically it’s not helping people at the lower end of the wage scale. It is simply helping those who are already much better off.”

Fr McVerry said he knew many people were struggling and “an extra few bob into their pocket” would be welcome.

“However, it’s a conjuring trick really, because whatever few bob are going to be given to them in the budget are going to be taken back in water charges.”

He said he would like to see a commitment to improving services for poor people. Quality of life was more dependent on the extent of services available rather than income received, he added.

Fr McVerry welcomed the Government’s commitment to renew the social housing building programme.

“The problem of people sleeping on the street could be solved by Christmas. It’s not rocket science.”

He said he was hoping for a strong political commitment to eliminating rough sleeping this year and eradicating homelessness as rapidly as possible.