Fianna Fáil Finance Spokesperson Michael McGrath has said that people will view with some scepticism the pre-election promises of Labour and Fine Gael to reduce the income tax burden on hard pressed families in October’s budget.

Deputy McGrath, “Just last month, the government published its financial projections underpinning next October’s budget, and confirmed that it plans to introduce tax increases and spending cuts of €2 billion. Just two weeks ago, Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore said it was too early to speculate about what might be in next October’s Budget. However, dazzled by the lure of an election in a matter of days, the Labour Party has again reverted to the politics of promises. The people remember well the promises made by this government back in 2011 and won’t be fooled again.

“Fianna Fáil supports a reduction in the income tax burden when the public finances permit. The reality is nobody knows at this stage whether or not there will be any scope in October’s Budget to reduce income tax. What we do know is that in their three years in office, this government has introduced a whole raft of extra taxes and charges on the Irish people, and that water charges kick in from 1 October for every home in the country.

“We also know that mortgage interest relief, which is worth €350m to households in 2014, is to be abolished in 2017. We know that the government is intent on further reducing the €370m tax relief people get on medical insurance policies. These changes alone will far outweigh the benefit of any income tax reductions families might get in the next few years.

“At a time when people are so weary from the impact of the economic downturn, they will take government promises on the eve of an election to reduce income tax with a proverbial pinch of salt”.