Universal Social Charge - I hope "review" means "reverse"
- Category: Public Expenditure
On Tuesday last, Sinn Fein introduced a private member's motion in the Dail to abolish the Universal Social Charge. The imposition of the USC is a deeply regressive measure which brings people earning as little as €4,004 into the tax net. As the Sinn Féin motion observes, low income workers including medical card holders, working lone parents and working widows, who were exempt from the health and income levies which the USC replaced, are no longer exempt. The motion was debated on Tuesday and Wednesday, Mick made the following remarks in the Chamber: "Most speakers have more or less agreed that the Universal Social Charge is very unfair. I have not heard many people say it is a fair system. It is good that the Government has decided to review it, but I hope “review” means “reverse”. I note that on page 2 of the Programme for Government it is stated: “[B]oth our parties are committed to protecting the vulnerable and to burden-sharing on an equitable basis.” It would be nice if it were true, because it would be a noble aim. If there is any truth in that statement, the Government will reverse this tax rather than tinkering around with it. It is hitting the less well off, as everybody has said, more than the well off. I cannot remember a time when I heard so many people complaining about their take-home pay. It has come as such a shock to people. I run a few restaurants in the city centre. Our turnover is down and we have had to lay off a couple of people since Christmas. People cannot believe how little money they have to pay their debts. It does not make sense any more. We are sucking the living daylights out of the economy, and we cannot possibly expect it to recover on these terms."