Today’s uncosted Social Democrat manifesto attacks Labour for our pledge to reduce USC for low and middle income householders, accusing our party of recklessness.
Across Ireland, workers are seeing USC cuts in their January pay-packet. The Labour Party is committed to standing up for working families and will make no apologies for it.
Unlike the Social Democrats, Labour believes that the USC, which was introduced by Fianna Fáil, is a burden on working people.
We are basing our plans on the forecasts of the Department of Finance – unlike the Social Democrats who have produced an uncosted manifesto. The Social Democrats in their document also outline a host of policies that the Labour Party are already delivering in government including the rollout of free GP care to children, extending the free pre-school year, implementing a two year rent freeze and massively expanding the apprenticeship system.
Over the last five years, Labour has done a lot to blunt the hard edges of the USC. We have taken half a million people out of the USC net altogether. And we have reduced the rates so as to provide relief to everyone on low and middle income.
Over the next five years we want to go further. If the economy continues to grow, we will be in a position to eliminate USC altogether on the first €72,000 of income. We will do this progressively and in a way that helps everyone except those on the highest incomes.
We can afford to do this because we’ve ensured the economy is in a much better state than when we took over from Fianna Fáil.
We in the Labour Party are determined to use the proceeds of the recovery to invest in services first and foremost. With the resources available to the next government, Labour favours a 3:1 split between investment and tax reform.
This means that for every €1 of tax reductions, €3 would be invested in essential services, such as our schools, hospitals and communities. Our vision is to sustain a strong economy in order to build a decent society.