Fine Gael to put income tax cuts at heart of its budgetary strategy

Party will focus on childcare, student fees, house building and reducing fuel prices

Fine Gael will put income tax reductions for working people and middle-income earners at the heart of its strategy for next October’s budget, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has told the party’s TDs and Senators.

At a special meeting to discuss the party’s approach to the Budget, a confidential document was also circulated outlining the measures Fine Gael wants to address the dramatic increase in the cost of living for families during 2022.

Entitled ‘Draft Fine Gael Messaging — Budget 2023′ the document states that the party wants to help people put more money in their pockets.

It highlights six key areas where it wants spending to be focused.

They are:

  • Reducing the cost of childcare.
  • Reducing student fees.
  • Building more homes and retaining the first-time buyers grant of up to €30,000.
  • Keeping excises on petrol and diesel low and “cutting rain and bus fares permanently”.
  • Increasing payments for pensions, carers, and those with disabilities
  • Widening the free GP care scheme and reducing the cost of medicines.

The document said these could be achieved at the same time as reducing income tax to allow people keep more their “hard-earned pay rises”.

It states: “The average person working full-time in Ireland earns more than €40,000 a year. They stand to lose 52 per cent of any pay increase they get in income tax, USC and PRSI.

“That’s not fair. We want to make sure working people and middle-income earners get to keep most of any pay increase they get.

“The average two-income couple, both working full-time, pays €800 a year less in income tax than they would if Sinn Féin had done the last budget.”

The document also acknowledges that “everyone is feeling the squeeze and some people are finding it really hard to make ends meet and are having to make some really tough decisions”.

In his address to the meeting, Mr Varadkar spoke to many of the points raised in the document. He was followed by Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe who outlined the current economic situation and spoke of Government interventions to respond to inflation which have already involved €2.4 billion in spending.

A large number of the party’s TDs and Senators also contributed to the meeting with many calling for real and material tax cuts.

Harry McGee

Harry McGee

Harry McGee is a Political Correspondent with The Irish Times