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Pension Levy Proposal is Deeply Inequitable

12 May, 2011

Speaking after today’s debate on the Jobs Initiative Sinn Fein spokesperson on Enterprise, Jobs and Innovation Peadar Tóibín has said that, ‘the government’s pension levy proposal is deeply inequitable.’

Deputy Tobin said:

“Today at the conclusion of the Jobs Initiative debate I directly questioned Minister for Finance Michael Noonan on what appears to be a number of serious inequalities in his pension levy proposals.

“As the proposal stands it operates as a flat tax on which rich people pay the exact same amount as those who are struggling to get by.

“There are also reports that company directors and high earners may be exempt from the levy.

“And it appears the outworking of the proposals will have a greater impact on people with defined contribution pensions compared with those on defined benefit pensions.

“I asked the Minister to clarify these matters as many ordinary people who are currently investing in their pensions are concerned with exactly how the Government’s proposals will impact on their savings.

“I also asked the Minister if he had established the exact cost of the levy to individual pensions holders.

“Unfortunately the Minister would not answer any of the questions posed.

“Sinn Féin has long argued for progressive tax reform and for increased taxes on high earners and on wealth. However we are opposed to regressive forms of taxation. We are also opposed to increased taxes, on the income and savings of ordinary working people.

“The Government’s pension levy is deeply inequitable. As with the previous government’s decision to introduce a Universal Social Charge that punished low income earners while easing the burden on high earners, it appears that Fine Gael and Labour are taking the same approach, adding an additional burden on low and middle income earners, while at best failing to make the very rich pay their fair share and at worst allowing them to contribute nothing at all.

“The Jobs Initiative itself has proven to be very disappointing amount to little more than to creation of 400 jobs. This is the equivalent to the opening of two Tesco stores or the stemming of immigration for just three days. It simply is not good enough as a measure to tackle the unemployment crisis.” ENDS

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