Speaking today during the Dail Committee debate on the Finance (No2) Bill Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty described the Bill as “the wrong way to fund job creation”.
Deputy Doherty sought to replace the pension levy with an alternative source of funding job creation by standardising pension tax reliefs at 20%. His amendment was ruled out of order by the Ceann Comhairle.
Deputy Doherty said:
“The core element of today’s anaemic Finance Bill is the imposition of a 0.6% levy on pension funds for the next four years. The Government plans to raise €470 million a year with the levy.
“It is Sinn Fein’s view that this is the wrong way to fund job creation.
“The pension levy proposal is deeply inequitable. It excludes the Approved Retirement Funds used by many high earners to invest in their pensions. It also makes no differentiation between the pensions held by ordinary workers and those of high earners.
“Today I sought to amend the Finance Bill to replace the levy with an alternative source of funding job creation. My proposal was to standardise pension tax relief at the lower rate of 20%. This would generate a greater level of revenue for the state to invest in job creation. It would also do so in a more target and fair manner.
“Based on figures from a 2009 ERSI report on pensions, standardising pension tax reliefs would generate an additional €1.1 billion, of which €616 million would come from the top 10% of earners.
“Indeed the same report estimated that in the same year, 82% of all pension tax relief went to the top 20% of income earners, demonstrating the grossly unequal nature of this relief and the need for its reform.
“Of course Sinn Fein would invest this money in a very different way to that outlined by the Government last week. However in the context of the Finance Bill before us the government has a clear choice between raiding the pension funds of all and targeting new revenue rising at those who can afford to pay the most.”