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Pension levy sliding scale discriminates against the lower paid

5 February, 2009

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has today restated Sinn Fein's opposition to the introduction of the pension levy which puts the burden of Ireland's public finances on low and medium income public workers and lets the wealthiest off the hook once again. Speaking in the Dáil today Deputy Morgan challenged the Minister for Finance on the fairness of the public service pension levy noting that the "sliding scale in the levy discriminates against the lower paid."

Deputy Morgan said:

"Yesterday in the Dáil the Minister for Finance said that public sector workers paying the new pension levy will be able to avail of tax relief in the same way as those in the private sector do. However the fiscal reality is that tax relief favours high earners, and relief provided for pension contributions arising from the pension levy will result in almost the same percentage levy for earners on €20,000 as it does for those who earn €300,000.

"It is clear from the Government's pension levy plan that the sliding scale in the levy discriminates against the lower paid. The higher you go up the scale the smaller the increases in the levy become. And this does not include the fact that the high earners in the public sector will be able to claim most of this money back in tax relief for their pensions.

"Sinn Féin has repeatedly called on the government to make all discretionary tax relief schemes available only at the standard rate of tax, which would raise up to €1 billion for the public purse.

"Let us be very clear, it is nurses who will lose €2,250 from their salaries and Gardaí who will have thousands of euro taken from their incomes. Many workers will now have to take an effective pay cut of up to three thousand euro before paying the income levy, health charges and other unfair public finance measures imposed by this government." ENDS

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