Wednesday 23 January 2019

Voters prefer to see more cutbacks, not extra tax increases

LEADER: But Kenny's policy change includes hikes

VOTERS are ready for more spending cuts but do not want a new Government to go scrounging for extra taxes.

Just as Fine Gael modified its economic plan to include a higher proportion of tax hikes, a new poll reveals that workers' big-post election fear is fresh taxes.

Enda Kenny tried to sneak through the policy change as his party launched its five-point plan.

Before December's Budget its finance spokesman Michael Noonan had promised that he could make a €15bn adjustment on the basis of a 3:1 ratio between spending cuts to tax hikes.

However, at a chaotic press conference Fine Gael confirmed that it was now planning just €2 in cuts for every euro in higher taxes.

The full explanation of the recovery programme won't be revealed until tomorrow but already the party faces huge criticism for reneging on a promise made just months ago.

Mr Noonan said their calculations had changed because of Brian Lenihan's Budget 2011.


"The €6bn correction, where certain things were done through tax increases and other things were done through cuts in expenditure, has changed the basic arithmetic. We have re-examined the situation," he said.

Elsewhere in Dublin Labour's Eamon Gilmore committed his party to no income tax increases for anyone earning less than €100,000. Outgoing Finance Minister Brian Lenihan was set to reveal Fianna Fail's economic policy today but already Mr Gilmore has said that the party was "offering people the same recipe that got this country into the economic mess".

Despite the controversy there was some good news for Mr Noonan today as an Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll showed that he is the preferred choice to be the next finance minister.

The Limerick TD is streets ahead of Labour's Joan Burton with 44pc saying they want him to be in charge of the country's purse strings. The poll which was taken before the change in Fine Gael policy showed Ms Burton to be at just 23pc.

The same poll revealed that 65pc of voters want a new government to make further spending cuts rather than hike taxes.

Only seven out of every 100 people surveyed accept that tax rises are the best way forward.


Meanwhile almost half of people believe their money is unsafe in an Irish bank.

The Irish Independent/Millward Brown Lansdowne poll found that just over a third of people now believe their money is secure in our banks.

A separate Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll found Fine Gael had jumped three points to 33pc with Labour down one on 24pc, compared to Fianna Fail on 15pc.

The Greens are on just 1pc.


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