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Burton wants to phase out "shelters" that help millionaires avoid tax

The Labour Minister said that this must be accompanied by a “strong safety net” to protect people.

Minister Joan Burton
Minister Joan Burton
Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

MINISTER FOR SOCIAL Protection Joan Burton has pledged to ensure a just tax system – and phase out tax shelters that benefit millionaires.

Speaking at the Labour hustings today, the Minister said that getting people back to work is how Ireland can grow tax revenue “without increasing tax rates, reduce welfare spending without cutting supports, and create room for new investment in essential public services”.

But she said that work in itself is not enough unless accompanied by a living wage, adding: “Ensuring a just taxation system is also essential to raising living standards”.

Tax shelters

She said that when she was in opposition, she highlighted the “scandal of tax shelters that allowed millionaires avoid tax and fuelled the calamitous building boom”.

I want to phase out any remaining tax shelters that favour the very wealthy, so that we can concentrate tax relief on where it’s needed most – for low and middle-income families.

Burton said that all of this must be accompanied by a “strong safety net” to protect people when they need it.

She did not make any specific comments about how she intends on phasing out the tax shelters.

Labour and elections

Burton did comment on Labour’s dismal performance in the “traumatic” recent elections, saying that the candidates that lost did so “because voters were unhappy with our performance in Government”.

She said that up until now the party has concentrated on economic recovery, which has meant asking “an awful lot” from people, and the party has “undoubtedly” made mistakes along the way.

Burton said that recovery is under way, but it needs to be “felt in people’s pockets”.

She also stated that the issue of housing supply must be tackled by rapidly increasing the construction of social and affordable housing – while working to strengthen tenants’ rights.

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