Sinn Fein get figures wrong on Universal Social Charge – Donohoe

30th March, 2011

Fine Gael Dublin Central Deputy Paschal Donohoe has today (Wednesday) accused Sinn Fein of getting the figures wrong on the Universal Social Charge (USC). Deputy Donohoe added that the party has now performed a U-turn on its abolition and wants ordinary workers to pay more tax.

“Last night, on the floor of Dail Eireann, Deputy Adams stated that the Universal Social Charge raises €420 million per year. This assertion was made while introducing their private members bill to abolish the USC and was supported by all Sinn Fein deputies. This claim was also made by Deputy Doherty during the course of the general election campaign when they specified that the abolition of the USC would be funded by the introduction of a higher rate of tax for income in excess of €100,000.

“The USC does not raise €420 million per year. This year the USC will raise €3.1 billion, rising to €4.5 billion by 2014. It raises nearly 10 times the amount of revenue that Sinn Fein claims. In their statements they have misstated the income of this tax by a staggering 91%.

“But it gets worse. Sinn Fein claimed in the general election that they would fund the abolition of the USC by the introduction of a third rate of tax on high earners. This raises €400 million. With full-year USC income of €4.5 billion, there was a black hole of over €4 billion in their economic policy.

“Sinn Fein now knows this. In their motion last night they stated that they would re-introduce the old income and health levies. This is a new policy and one that Sinn Fein kept under wraps during the general election. This means that anyone earning the average industrial wage would face a tax increase under Sinn Fein policies. The effective rate of the old health and income levies for a taxpayer on €30,000 was 6%, under the USC it is 4.7%.

“The ordinary worker would pay more tax for Sinn Fein policy. Far from abolishing it they will just change the name of it and make ordinary workers pay more.

“The USC does need to be changed and reformed. But this should not mean, as Sinn Fein wants, higher taxes. This must be the oddest so-called abolition ever proposed from the opposition benches.”