Varadkar wants tax cuts for the middle class

"It is the middle class who pay the most," the Social Protection Minister noted...

Varadkar wants tax cuts for the middle class

File photo | Image: RollingNews.ie

Minister for Social Protection Leo Varadkar has called for both low and middle income earners to benefit from any tax cuts in Budget 2017.

His comments come as the Government looks at abolishing the Universal Social Charge (USC) and following on from Junior Health Minister Finian McGrath's call earlier today for tax breaks favouring lower-paid workers.

Cutting the main band as well as the two lowest rates of tax would cost the Exchequer €330m, which amounts to all the money available for tax cuts in next month's budget.

Varadkar said:

"Certainly from my own point of view, and I think from the point of view of Fine Gael, we would say that any tax reduction has to benefit both low income earners but also the middle class.

"Because it is the middle class who pay the most tax, both in cash terms and in percentage terms. It would be important that they would benefit from it as well."

Varadkar also took time out today to argue that the Dublin Bus strikes should be suspended while talks take place.

He said:

"We’ve had a number of days of strikes, they have been very disruptive for commuters and for business in Dublin.

“I think it would help with good will all round, that while talks are underway, if they are making progress than perhaps the strikes would be suspended.”

Dublin Bus management and unions representing drivers are meeting at the Workplace Relations Commission to try to come to an agreement over pay. If none is reached, buses will stop at 9pm tonight to prepare for another 48 hours of stoppages.