Fianna Fáil spokesman on Small Business John McGuinness says steps need to be taken to ease the cost burden on families. Over the last three years workers have seen their take home pay reduced as the Government imposes more income and stealth taxes. In its economic forecast for 2014, employers group IBEC remarked that wage pressures remain a concern.
“This forecast by the Irish Business and Employers’ Confederation reiterates what Fianna Fáil has been saying for some time. Despite claims that the Government wants to reduce taxes for middle income families, the Fine Gael-Labour coalition has produced three regressive budgets to date. There have been 13 separate increases in tax on income over the last three years. Many of the tax changes introduced since 2011 have targeted older people and young people who are out of work, a reflection of the lack of interest Labour has in protecting the most vulnerable in this country”, commented Deputy McGuinness.
“The Government needs to introduce measures which will ease the pressure on hardworking families. Not only has the Finance Minister sanctioned income tax increases, he also brought in a raft of stealth taxes. Carbon taxes, property tax and septic tank charges have all been introduced at a time when workers’ wages are being eaten up by high taxes.
“Ibec says Irish consumers deserve a break, however the Government seems determined to slap more taxes onto the general public. The introduction of water charges next year will only serve to exacerbate the problem further. Ministers are pushing ahead with new tax polices without taking ability to pay into consideration, leading to a squeeze on consumer spending.
“Irish businesses are also struggling with higher costs. The most recent report from the National Competitiveness Council revealed that Ireland is still a high cost location. In 2012, Ireland was the third most expensive location in the Euro area for consumer goods and services. Electricity prices are some of the highest in the Eurozone, while diesel costs are 7% more expensive. Despite promises to improve Ireland’s competitiveness, the Government has done little to address the problem, and that is evident in this research.
“Fianna Fáil wants to see a system that will support employment, ensure stability in our public finances and give a break to people who have paid the most over the past five years. The current system only serves to put additional pressure on low and middle income families, leaving little room for respite”.