‘Solidarity’ tax the first step on the road to recovery

07 April 2021

Responding to the IMF proposal that high earners and companies that prospered throughout the pandemic should pay additional tax, Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash has called on Government to consider such a measure. 

Deputy Nash said that as we look to rebuild our economy, Ireland has an opportunity to show ambition and build an economy that works for all society.

Deputy Nash said:

“The pandemic has revealed a two-tier economy. What we do not want to see is a two-speed post-Covid recovery. 

“We need to look seriously at where wealth is held in this country. Inequality is embedded throughout Irish society and we can’t go back to business as usual when we look to rebuild the country after the pandemic. Ordinary people simply cannot carry the disproportionate burden of the recovery through a lack of investment in public services and a lack of jobs and opportunities. 

“The progressive albeit temporary tax measure proposed by the IMF presents an opportunity to fairly rebalance our economy and reduce the economic inequalities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. 

“By clearly defining the parameters of a well designed wealth tax, the Government can ensure that they are targeting those with excessive wealth to be fairly redistributed to those who need it most. 

“It would be a modest tax on high rollers who have reaped high financial gains at a time when many frontline workers in retail, healthcare and childcare do not earn a living wage.

“The pandemic has hit our young people, women and those in precarious work hard. It has also shown us the essential value of the taken for granted low-paid heroes who keep our country running in good times and bad. Underpaid and undervalued workers have become our frontline heroes and they are tired of empty platitudes and lip service from this Government.

“A ‘solidarity’ tax would ensure that the basic needs of those heroes and the most vulnerable in society are met. We have already seen the Biden administration in America and even a Conservative UK Chancellor make moves in this direction – now it’s time to start the conversation here.

“This being said, attempts I have made to ask the Department of Finance to properly cost and design a progressive wealth tax here have been met with a deafening silence by Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil. 

“Labour has already proposed a series of growth friendly tax increases targeting excessive wealth and wasteful tax breaks in our recent alternative budget. These solidarity measures alone would fund nearly €2bn in extra spending to support our economic recovery.

“Covid-19 has changed everything but our problems before Covid-19 still remain. The CSO estimates that more than 637,000 people are living in poverty in Ireland, and a further 12.8% are at risk of poverty. As we emerge from public health restrictions and workers and businesses try to piece back their lives, no one can be left behind. 

“The Government must commit to fast-tracking public homes and reshaping our childcare, education and transport systems. Targeting those with too much to help those with too little would represent genuine economic progress and the beginning of a new social contract and economy that works for all of us.”

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