Fianna Fáil’s approach to USC is hypocrisy at its worst and Micheál Martin cannot be trusted on the matter, a Fine Gael Minister has said.
Minister of State, Patrick O’Donovan said: “Micheál Martin’s attempt to start a row with Fine Gael on USC is simply laughable. Has he forgotten that Fianna Fáil were the ones who introduced USC in the first place, at what was a time of national crisis after they had crashed the economy?
“And despite what Micheál Martin wants you to believe, Fine Gael is the party which has already cut the USC to give people a much needed break. In our very first Budget we took the lowest paid people out of the USC net, people that Fianna Fáil were unfairly penalising for their economic negligence. And we have reduced USC continuously since then in a sustainable and responsible manner.
“Through cutting USC and income taxes over the course of the last three budgets, Fine Gael has put approximately €1,500 back in the pockets of the average household and we would like to do more.
“We will continue to cut USC and income tax while while simultaneously continuing to invest in public services, and we can do so thanks to the economic recovery which Fine Gael has overseen. We can ensure increased pay and a reduced tax burden while also continuing to invest in vital services like schools, health, transport and building more houses.
“Some key Budget measures also begin to take effect this week to help support the most vulnerable in our society including increases in tax credits for homemakers worth €100 per annum and for the self-employed, worth €150 per annum. Soon we will also see an increase for older people and those on social welfare who live alone of €5 per week. There will also be increases of €2 per week to the fuel/energy allowance and €2-3 per week for child dependent allowance.
“Fine Gael will also continue our programme to reduce the cost of living for people and families through measures like subsidised childcare, extending free GP care, and reducing prescription charges.
“Continuing this work depends on keeping the economy strong and keeping the public finances in order. It also depends on Fine Gael having a stronger mandate; the current Dáil numbers see us make up only 25% of the seats. With a bigger mandate Fine Gael can and will do more for the people who sacrificed throughout the years of economic devastation in this country.
“Fianna Fáil are not the party to do that and will certainly not be the party to cut USC despite Micheál Martin’s phony war on the issue. They are too busy making reckless spending calls, promising all things to all people- in the first six months of 2019 they had already made €4.35 billion worth of additional spending calls with no clarity as to how it would all be funded.
“Fine Gael has already proven that we have and will continue to reduce USC and give people a break. We are really the only party in the Dáil that believes in reducing income tax and giving people more of their money to keep in their own pockets and spend as they see fit.”