New figures provided to Fianna Fáil Finance spokesperson indicate that 325,000 are set to lose tax relief on their monthly mortgage payment when mortgage interest relief is phased out by the end of 2017. The average benefit to families in 2015 is €850.

Deputy McGrath commented, “This payment is a very important support for families particularly those struggling with sky high variable mortgage rates. Mortgage interest relief has already been withdrawn from new home buyers since 2012. The process of withdrawing it from existing homeowners at the same time as they are subject to a residential property tax highlights a Government that is pursuing policies that are making home ownership increasingly unaffordable for families.

“In the months ahead we will see a procession of Ministers lauding their plans to cut taxes in the budget. They are likely to give far less attention to the impact of plans to withdraw support for struggling homeowners. There is also the looming cost of universal health insurance which as well as increased premiums is likely to be associated with elimination of tax relief on medical insurance premiums. The combination of these two policies will be a huge financial blow to lower and middle income families in particular,” concluded Deputy McGrath.