Oxfam report makes clear case for additional wealth taxes

16 January 2023
  • Minister McGrath must detail why he refuses to implement a tax on high rollers

Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said the gap between the ‘have lots’ and ‘have nots’ in Irish society must be addressed through a wealth tax.

Responding to an Oxfam report published today which highlights that 1% of the population of Ireland owns a quarter of the wealth, Deputy Nash said Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil must face up to the fact that it is long past time to tax the wealthiest in Irish society to the benefit of all.

Deputy Nash said:

“The gap between the have lots and have nots in Irish society is sickening and is cutting away at the fabric of society. We have seen through the permanent cost of living crisis of the past number of years that as many people struggle to afford to keep the heat on over the colder months, the 1% are laughing all the way to their asset management advisers.

“There’s a clear case for the introduction of a series of discrete targeted wealth taxes to broaden the availability of funds to support those who need it most, and devise a pathway towards eradicating poverty in Ireland.

“In addition those who say they are of the left need to grow up and accept that property, land and inheritance  – being the primary and very significant forms of wealth – must attract a fairer and more proportionate share of the tax-take to invest in universal services.

“By clearly defining the parameters of a well designed wealth tax, the State can ensure that it is 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 continue to reap high financial gains at a time when many frontline workers in retail, healthcare and childcare do not earn a living wage.

“This Government must shift the tax focus away from those who work the hardest to those who have the most. The question of taxes on vulgar levels of wealth is now a moral and ethical question as well as an economic one.

“Not only would such a tax help fund much needed cost of living supports, it would also help to reign in runaway inequality and an ever more powerful and entitled billionaire class.

“Despite all the evidence and the authoritative research available, the Minister for Finance has continually batted away Labour’s request to frame a discrete Irish wealth tax proposal.

“In light of today’s Oxfam report, Minister McGrath must clearly explain why the Government he serves in refuses to cost or entertain such a proposal.

“Labour has already proposed a series of growth friendly tax increases targeting excessive wealth and wasteful tax breaks in our alternative budgets.

“The Government must commit to fast-tracking public homes and reshaping our childcare, education and transport systems and investing more of our resources to meet our climate targets.

“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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