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Better ways to fund job creation than pension levy – Doherty

19 May, 2011 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking in response to the publication of the Finance Bill this afternoon Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty said that “there are better ways to fund investment in job creation than the Government’s proposed smash and grab of pension funds.”

Deputy Doherty said:

“Last week’s jobs initiative was a deep disappointment to the 440,000 people out of work across the country. The government missed an opportunity to use the resources at its disposal to invest in job creation and in supporting struggling businesses and families.

“The core element of the Finance Bill, published today, 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.

“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.

“There is a far more equitable way of raising funds for job creation through the pension system. Sinn Féin has long advocated the standardisation of pension tax reliefs at the lower rate. This measure would not only remove an unjustifiable inequity in the current system but generate significant revenue for the state to invest in economic recovery.

“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.

“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 or targeting new revenue rising at those who can afford to pay the most.” ENDS

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