Sinn Féin’s reckless economic policies would do nothing to support businesses and would stifle job creation as the country recovers from Covid-19, Fine Gael Minister Patrick O’Donovan has said.
Minister O’Donovan said Sinn Féin’s proposal for a 4% hike in employers’ PRSI to fund their plan to reduce the State pension age would heap more costs on all businesses at a crucial time when the focus is on growing our economy and bringing employment back to pre-crisis levels.
Minister O’Donovan: “Once again Sinn Féin are talking out of both sides of their mouth by bringing forward an unclear and uncosted policy that would harm businesses at a time when Government has been doing all it can to help them respond and recover from Coivd-19 through the provision of unprecedented supports.
“What Sinn Féin fail to understand is employers’ PRSI is a tax on jobs and this proposal makes it more expensive to hire employees, just as we come out of a recession caused by the pandemic when so many people lost their livelihoods. The Commission on Taxation has said ‘increases in rates of PRSI, in particular employer PRSI, would likely have a negative impact on employment.’
“Over the last 24 hours, party leader Mary Lou McDonald struggled to answer basic questions when asked who exactly would pay for this measure, with further question marks on the costing of €127 million which she claimed it would take to reduce the pension age.
“She was equally under pressure ahead of her party think yesterday when she was asked on RTÉ Morning Ireland about Sinn Féin’s proposal to set a salary ceiling for a tax relief that would apply to a private pension.
“She couldn’t provide a figure as to what the ceiling would be set at, which seems to be a recurring theme for Sinn Féin representatives when probed for basic detail on most of their policy proposals on public finances, housing, health and education.
“Even this morning, Deputy McDonald was asked about the €127 million that it would cost to restore the state pension age to 65 and responded it’s a figure ‘we’ve been given by the system.’
“The most recent figure from the Department of Social Protection is that decreasing the pension age would cost up to €1 billion per year – eight times what Sinn Féin are admitting to. This cost would continue to rise year by year, and these estimates were stated in black and white by the Department in response to a parliamentary question just two months ago.
“The simple fact is Sinn Féin’s reckless economic policies do not stand up to scrutiny and the party cannot be trusted with manging our economy, particularly as the country emerges from the greatest crisis in living memory,” Minister O’Donovan concluded.