Ireland must get serious on Wealth Taxes

22 September 2020
  • Central Bank report confirms scale of wealth inequality in Ireland.
  • Wealthiest 20% now have a median wealth of over €853,000 per person, with poorest 20% only having €1,000 per person.
  • Wealth taxes needed in upcoming Budget to fund a fair recovery, broaden the tax base and build fiscal sustainability.

Responding to the Central Bank report on household wealth, and speculation at the weekend about moves to cut Capital Gains Tax, Labour Finance spokesperson Ged Nash said:

“The Central Bank report on Household Wealth in Ireland confirms what we already knew, that the distance between the wealthiest and the poorest in Irish society is growing.

“Wealth inequality remains very large, with the top 10% of households now holding 50% of the total wealth. The top 20% now have a median wealth of over €853k per person, up from €560k per person in 2013, and more than the other 80% combined. Most concerning is that the lower 20% have a median wealth of just €1000 per person.

“In order to close the wealth gap and in the interests of funding decent universal services the Government must seriously consider a series of taxes on passive wealth to broaden the tax base and ensure fiscal sustainability.

“A key reason for the increase in wealth levels is the rise in house prices since 2013. Yet, we have some political parties who wish to abolish tax on the houses of millionaires. We also have a Government that is seeking to reduce inheritance tax, something that will help lock-in inequality between generations.

“These regressive policies reward wealth over hard work and mean that no matter how hard most young people strive they constantly struggle to get ahead of those who have inherited wealth.

“Shockingly, OECD research shows that in Ireland it would take five generations, or roughly 150 years, for the descendants of a person in the bottom 10% of earners to secure only an average income, compared with two generations in Denmark.

“The Government needs to get real about the scale of inequality in Ireland, and the gap between rich and poor. On the back of today’s report, other opposition parties should seriously reflect on their refusal to tax exorbitant household wealth and rather support policies that help close the gap for ordinary workers and their families.”

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