Tax changes due to come into effect in the New Year as a result of Budget 2019 will mean real savings for people and families throughout Westmeath and across the country, according to Longford/Westmeath Fine Gael TD Peter Burke.
The Deputy highlighted that over the last five years families have made significant savings thanks to Fine Gael’s programme of income tax reform. This comes at a time when unemployment figures have reached a new low of 5.3 per cent, down from a high of 16 per cent in early 2012.
“Fine Gael in government has sought to bring about a fair, progressive and sustainable budget which will benefit people in Westmeath," Deputy Burke said. "This year’s reductions in PAYE and USC are a continuation of a programme of tax reform implemented by Fine Gael since the economic crash. We have long argued that workers enter the higher rate of income tax at too low a level of income and we know that families deserve sustainable wages. There has also been a huge job stimulus programme which has worked in tandem with the tax reductions, with the action plan for jobs delivering a reduction of unemployment figures to the current 5.3 per cent rate from the highs of 16 per cent in early 2012.
“The positive changes to people’s take home pay have been significant over the last five years. Some examples from the Budget book illustrate this change," he added.
The Deputy noted numerous examples as to how Budget 2019 would benefit the Westmeath public.
“A single person working in the private sector with no children who is earning the average wage, will find themselves with €1,334 more in their take home pay than they did five years ago. This is an 18 per cent decrease in their income tax and USC.
“A married couple with two children, taking in a single income of €55,000, will have €2,934 more in their take home pay than they did five years ago. This represents 20 per cent of a reduction in their income tax and USC.
“Meanwhile, a self-employed person with no children, earning €35,000, will have €2,684 in their take home pay over and above what they had five years ago. This is a 30 per cent reduction in their income tax and USC. Fine Gael has consistently worked towards tax equalisation for self-employed people who were unfairly treated in the past.
“We have steadily increased the earned income tax credit for the self-employed over the last few years in order to redress this balance. We know that small and medium business owners are the backbone of job creation in communities right across Westmeath.
“The self-employed will also become eligible for Jobseeker’s Benefit in the final quarter of 2018 for the very first time," Deputy Burke continued.
“Fine Gael believes in making work pay. We are determined to continue our programme of progressive income tax reform as we reap the benefits of near full employment,”