herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Taoiseach vows to cut USC tax and reduce childcare costs in Budget

economy

The Government will shortly publish a plan to slash childcare costs, with the first steps being taken in October's Budget.

Opening the National Economic Dialogue in Dublin Castle, Taoiseach Enda Kenny also reiterated his pledge to cut the Universal Social Charge (USC) to reduce the marginal rate of tax to below 50pc for those earning less than €70,000 per year .

Mr Kenny said the aim is to have half a million low- income workers removed from the USC net.

He said that by 2018, the Government hopes to have replaced every job lost during the recession, and by 2019 the expectation is that more people will be at work in Ireland than ever before.

Recovery

Mr Kenny said there are families for whom the recovery hasn't arrived.

"The reality is that many people do not yet see, and do not yet feel the benefits of a recovering economy," he said.

"All remain nervous about the risks ahead and the danger of slipping back. My commitment to the Irish people is that, under this government, we are never going back."

The Taoiseach said that after the Low Pay Commission makes its first report next week, the Government will respond with a package of measures in the a Budget that supports jobs.

"Combined with ongoing reforms to our welfare system, the Budget will make sure that work pays more than welfare, and will reduce the number of working families in poverty," Mr Kenny said.

The Taoiseach pledged to cut childcare costs.

leeway

"We will also shortly publish a plan to expand early childhood education and reduce childcare costs, with the first steps to be taken in the coming Budget," Mr Kenny said.

Members of the Cabinet, the opposition, and representatives of business bodies, trade unions, and social groups are attending the two-day event in Dublin Castle.

Tanaiste Joan Burton said there will be some leeway in the Budget for investment.

Ms Burton said the strong growth rates experienced recently cannot be taken for granted and will require prudent and sustainable management. She said the government will spend sensibly.

"We will continue to reduce taxes for low and middle-income workers, to ensure they take home more pay," she said. "We will continue to increase Child Benefit."

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