Sinn Féin wants another €1bn in taxes to fund spending

Party’s tax-raising measures include abolition of 9 per cent VAT rate on hotel beds

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the abolition of the 9  per cent VAT rate on hotel beds would raise €175 million and a new 7 per cent income tax rate on earnings over €100,000 would raise €464 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the abolition of the 9 per cent VAT rate on hotel beds would raise €175 million and a new 7 per cent income tax rate on earnings over €100,000 would raise €464 million. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

Sinn Féin is proposing to raise an additional €1 billion in new taxes next year to fund a range of spending measures, such as investment in health, education and childcare.

The party accepts there will be €1 billion in extra funds available next year, the figure for the so-called fiscal space which is being used by the Government as it prepares to announce next Tuesday’s budget.

However, Sinn Féin says it would raise an additional €1 billion in taxes, allowing the Government to spend a total of €2 billion.

The party says it would raise an extra €1.7 billion in new taxes, while implementing just over €738 million in tax cuts – the biggest of which is the abolition of the property tax at a cost of €440 million.

Tax-raising measures include the abolition of the special 9 per cent VAT rate on hotel beds, although it will still apply to sales in restaurants and the bars of hotels.

Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said this would raise €175 million and a new 7 per cent income tax rate on earnings over €100,000 would raise €464 million.

Another large tax-raising measure is a new 15.75 per cent rate for Employers’ PRSI on salaries over €100,000, raising €331.4 million.

Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan are understood to be keen to complete the budget by the weekend but a number of Ministers expressed concern that negotiations could stretch into Saturday and Sunday.

Additional €50 million

A number of departments, however, have yet to finalise their budget packages, including the Department of Health, Department of Social Protection and the Department of Children.

Fianna Fáil met on Tuesday to discuss the upcoming budget with finance spokesman Michael McGrath and public expenditure spokesman Dara Calleary briefing members on their priorities.

Key requests

Fianna Fáil also outlined a number of key requests in the area of health including the recruitment of speech and language and occupational therapists. In education, the party is seeking a reduction in the pupil-teacher ratio and the hiring of career guidance counsellors.

The party has also has warned its councillors not to support increases in the local property tax. In a letter sent to council members the party’s housing spokesman, Barry Cowen, was against increasing the tax.

“While this is a matter that is solely at the discretion and control of local councillors, it is important that we all remember that one of our main commitments in our general election manifesto was to cut costs for families.

“Increasing the local property tax would add to family costs and should not be considered or agreed to, particularly when the Fine Gael Finance Minister Michael Noonan announced in 2015 that the local property tax would be frozen until 2019.”

Local authorities are considering the local property tax rates and some have already voted against increases. In Galway and in Limerick, however, homeowners face a 10 per cent increase in the levies.