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Financial Resolution No. 14: Capital Acquisitions Tax (Continued)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 785 No. 2

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(Speaker Continuing)

[Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett] On the issue of a wealth tax, the answer, as we stated explicitly, was that we need a comprehensive register of wealth and assets to identify how wealth is distributed. All we have, however, are Central Bank figures which show the overall quantum of wealth, how much of it is financial and how much is household wealth and what are the liabilities. We do not know the distribution of household assets that are valued at €447 billion. We need to know how these assets are distributed in order that we can have a progressive taxation system that targets accumulated wealth. There is by international standards a significant quantum of household wealth in this small country. If one divides the figure by the population, as has been done, one finds that Ireland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. This position is not borne out by our levels of poverty, however, and for this reason it is necessary to carry out a serious study to identify how wealth is distributed. This would enable us to implement a targeted wealth tax.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Much of the country's wealth is in property, yet Deputy Boyd Barrett opposes a property tax.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Having a roof over one's head is not an indication of one's ability to pay €300, €400 or €500.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Property is a store of wealth. The Deputy cannot have it both ways.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett Let us not be facile about this.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I am not being facile.

Deputy Richard Boyd Barrett: Information on Richard Boyd Barrett Zoom on Richard Boyd Barrett All that being said, these measures are broadly progressive.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I concur with some of the comments Deputies have made on the resolutions. What does the Minister expect the measures in Financial Resolution No. 10 to yield? He indicated that Financial Resolution No. 11 would yield €47 million. Will he also elaborate on the reference to credit unions?

I concur with colleagues that since the introduction by the former Minister for Finance, Mr. Charlie McCreevy, of disastrous changes to the taxation system, we have been crawling back towards a sustainable taxation system.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy Gilmore, commented on the proposals made by the Opposition in respect of the budget. As the Minister, Deputy Quinn, will be aware, seven weeks ago a section of the Labour Party led my me, Deputy Nulty and Ms Nessa Childers, MEP, made a number of proposals relating to people with massive wealth and on higher incomes. If implemented, the proposals would have realised approximately €1 billion. They were costed by the Department of Finance through parliamentary questions and offered an alternative to the measures in today's budget.

I commend my Labour Party colleagues on the introduction of a measure to cap the value of pension contributions eligible for tax relief at €60,000. This was a significant victory for the Labour Party and a measure Deputy Shortall and I called for several months ago.

While there are positive aspects to the budget, in overall terms this is a sad day for the Labour Party. The Fine Gael Party set its priorities and ran rings around my party on many aspects of the budget. My colleague, Deputy Boyd Barrett, is correct that-----

Deputy Arthur Spring: Information on Arthur Spring Zoom on Arthur Spring We are Deputy Broughan's colleagues.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan Some time ago, I suggested to the Minister for Finance that he establish a commission on top pay, similar to that which the Miliband brothers are seeking to establish in the United Kingdom. The Minister responded by rubbishing my proposal. He does not want to know where the wealth is in this country and why would he given that his party and Fianna Fáil have for decades represented that wealth in this House?

Unless my valiant colleagues on the Labour Party benches can change the social welfare Bill, this day will remembered as the day the Labour Party cut €10 from child benefit. It will become a day of shame and infamy that will be put up to Labour Party representatives and candidates for decades to come. Today will be remembered in the same way as the case of a certain Sligo alderman in the 1920s and a decision on old age pensions taken decades ago.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Rubbish.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan It is not rubbish. The Minister of State, Deputy White, is only a wet day in this House.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White The Deputy's remarks are over the top.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I and the Minister were fighting elections 30 years ago when Deputy White was with another party.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White Which party?

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I ask Deputy Broughan to speak to the financial resolutions.

Deputy Alex White: Information on Alex White Zoom on Alex White I was never with any other party.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan He was.

The cuts announced in social welfare are a grave error and one which should be remedied before next week. As anyone who has been unemployed will agree, cutting jobseeker's benefit when people are vulnerable as they desperately try to return to work is reprehensible. The mean cuts in the back-to-school allowance and household benefits package do not have anything to do with the Labour Party's ethos and are the wrong approach.

On the measures taken in the Department of Education and Skills, it is not necessary to make promises before elections but if one does so, one should keep them. The Minister talked the talk and should have walked the walk. Incidentally, the increase in the pupil-teacher ratio in post-leaving certificate programmes and cuts in funding to the vocational education committees are also mean spirited. The Minister has cut the pupil-teacher ratio for many kids who did not have a chance to go to third level.

In health, people on home care packages face another year of anxiety.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt The general debate on the budget will take place tomorrow.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I am steering around to the fact that a section of the Labour Party-----

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys The Deputy is not speaking to the resolutions.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan I am speaking to the resolution on capital taxation.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys He has not once mentioned capital taxation.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Please allow Deputy Broughan to continue without interruption.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg It is the militant tendency.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan The hard road for Labour Party Deputies to take is to walk beside me but they have chosen to take the easy way out. The hard way is to stand up and be counted and to seek to form a Government led by the Labour Party.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg The Deputy chose the easy way by walking away.

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn That says it all.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan Tragically, it was Deputy Stagg who abandoned the Labour Party many years ago.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I ask Deputy Broughan to conclude.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan There is another way. A section of the Labour Party, supported by many party members, put forward a proposal and argued that there is a different way, a Labour Party way. We could have achieved whatever the troika has imposed on us without imposing mean spirited, reprehensible cuts that will have a negative impact on the people the Labour Party primarily tries to represent and those who will seek to represent them in the years and decades to come. I ask the Minister, and I believe my colleagues would like me ask this-----

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg We will manage without Deputy Broughan's advice.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan This is a joke.

Deputy Emmet Stagg: Information on Emmet Stagg Zoom on Emmet Stagg The Deputy should stick with the militant tendency.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt Deputy Broughan has the floor.

Deputy Micheál Martin: Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin He is being interrupted incessantly.

An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: Information on Michael Kitt Zoom on Michael Kitt I am in the Chair.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Pádraig Mac Lochlainn: Information on Pádraig MacLochlainn Zoom on Pádraig MacLochlainn Let Deputy Broughan speak.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan: Information on Thomas P. Broughan Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan As we head into 2013, I ask my colleagues, who are the voice of the Labour Party, to stand up and be counted and stop kowtowing to Fine Gael. When the Minister was leader of the Labour Party - I proposed him for the role incidentally - his ambition was to be the leader of a Government of the left led by the Labour Party, as is the case with President Hollande who has introduced a wealth tax. Even Chancellor Merkel will have to face a labour party in elections next year. The Minister wanted to have a serious attempt to achieve power but today, unfortunately, the Labour Party is abandoning that ambition.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys I welcome Deputy Broughan's contribution. He has always been consistent in that when the going gets tough, he always gets going. He has never in his life stayed around for a decent fight.

Deputy Patrick Nulty: Information on Patrick Nulty Zoom on Patrick Nulty How dare the Deputy.

Deputy Kevin Humphreys: Information on Kevin Humphreys Zoom on Kevin Humphreys It is a fact.

(Interruptions).


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