“This time five years ago, people were feeling for the first time the shock of seeing the Universal Social Charge deducted from their pay checks. The introduction of the USC by Fianna Fail was the last act of a failed Government and their economic mismanagement that ruined the country. It has become the most hated tax in the history of the Irish State.
“Fine Gael has already started to abolish the USC – we cut all the rates this year and have completely removed over 400,000 low-paid workers over the last four years. Fine Gael plans to complete the abolition of the USC over the next five years. As part our wider tax reforms, this is the core part of Fine Gael’s Long Term Economic Plan aimed at making work pay. Fine Gael is a party that believes it is good for Ireland to make work pay more than welfare and to reward hard work. It is the hard work of Irish families and small business that is generating economic recovery. We want to keep the recovery going by encouraging and rewarding that hard work.
“Since the introduction of the USC by Fianna Fail, Ireland’s personal tax system has discouraged work and is a barrier to the economic recovery. More than 80% of the tax increases implemented by Fianna Fail were imposed on workers and took money out of their pockets. Like all penal taxes on work, Fianna Fail’s USC killed jobs – 300,000 of them. Fine Gael abandoned the further increases in income taxes planned by Fianna Fail, and has now started reducing taxes on workers and putting money back in people’s pockets. Over 135,000 more people are at work since the Action Plan for Jobs was launched in 2012. Much progress has been made but we want to finish the job by implementing the three steps of our Long Term Economic Plan to keep the recovery going: more and better jobs; making work pay; and sensible investments in public services.
“The abolition of the USC is at the centre of this and, if returned to Government, we will achieve this over the next five years. We will end the discrimination against the self-employed under the tax system by 2018. We will reduce the marginal rate of tax to 44% for middle income earners and under 50% for everyone else to make work pay.”