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Government must come clean on future of USC – Doherty

27 June, 2011 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Speaking in response to comments by the Minister for Public Finance Brendan Howlin over the weekend on the future of the controversial Universal Social Charge, Sinn Fein Finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty has called on the government ‘to come clean’ on the future of the charge.

Deputy Doherty said:

“The Universal Social Charge was one of the most controversial decisions of the Fianna Fail government. It is a regressive measure disproportionately affecting those on low incomes.

“People earning as little as €77 per week must pay this charge. Indeed someone earning €100,000 a year is charged at the same rate as someone earning €16,016. Low income workers, including medical card holders, working lone parents and working widows, who were exempt from the health and income levies must pay the charge.

“Labour and Fine Gael opposed the introduction of the USC in January of this year. During the general election campaign Labour promised to “ease the impact of the USC for those most adversely affected.’

“The Programme for Government has a clear commitment to review the charge.

“However, from comments made by Minister Howlin at the weekend it appears that the Government is abandoning both its pre-election and Programme for Government commitments.

“I have submitted questions to the Minister for Finance this morning asking him if the Government intends to proceed with the promised review of the USC and if so under what terms of reference and within what time frame. It is time for the Government to come clean on the future of the USC.”

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