DUBLIN (Reuters) - Ireland’s prime minister on Saturday pledged to remove more workers from paying the highest rate of income tax by increasing the threshold by more than a third if his government continues in office for the next five years.
Ireland started reversing years of savage spending cuts and tax hikes in 2014, about the time its economy began to rebound from a deep financial crisis, but at 35,000 euros, the top rate of tax is still applied to a single person on a below average full-time income.
“We have managed to reverse much of that unfairness, but some elements persist,” Varadkar said in a televised address from his Fine Gael party’s annual conference, committing to increasing the threshold to 50,000 euros over the next five budgets.
“It discourages parents from returning to the workforce, discourages people who emigrated from coming home, and makes it harder to attract good jobs and talent to Ireland. It is holding our country back,” he said of the threshold which has gradually risen from 32,800 euros over the last five years.
Varadkar’s pledge is mostly dependent on his Fine Gael party winning re-election. He is currently in talks with the main opposition party to renew an expiring government cooperation deal for one more budget before an election he wants set for mid-2020.
Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Ros Russell