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Enda is promising tax cuts in the next budget. And the one after that and so on...

That’s as long as his government gets re-elected, mind.

Image: Sam Boal/photocall Ireland

Updated at 12.05pm

ENDA KENNY HAS said he will keep rolling out tax cuts after this year’s budget – as long as his government gets re-elected.

The Taoiseach this morning told a conference of business leaders the government would repeat its cuts to USC and income tax from the 2014 budget in this year’s announcement.

“We will reduce it further in the next budget and in the following budgets if the government is re-elected,” he said.

“For the first time in seven years, working families are now seeing a modest rise in their take-home pay.”

Kenny previously said the government’s main focus was on cutting taxes for those earning between €30,000 and €70,000 a year.

But it is facing an uphill battle to get re-elected with the most recent polls showing the Fine Gael/Labour coalition will be out of office before the 2016 budget unless they can turn around the slide in support.

Pictured at the Global Irish: Ireland's D Source: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

‘Work must pay more than welfare’

Speaking at business lobby group Ibec’s CEO Conference, Kenny ruled out a return the social-partnership model of central pay agreements, although he added the government still wanted to make sure “vulnerable workers who lack bargaining power are paid fairly”.

Work must pay more than welfare and those in full-time work should not be poor. Too often, this is not the case at the moment.”

He said the government would respond to the recently-established Low Pay Commission’s findings in the budget while it would look at ways of “mitigating” the impact of any rise in the minimum wage for businesses.

It would also “begin the process” of ending “discriminatory tax treatment” towards the self-employed, he said.

Self-employed workers currently pay higher USC contributions than PAYE workers earning the same incomes and small-business groups in particular have been lobbying hard to change this system.

Fine Gael Conferences Source: Sam Boal/Photocall Ireland

Emigrants calling

Speaking later on the conference sidelines, Kenny told CNBC it wasn’t Ireland’s tax breaks like the infamous “double Irish” loophole which had lured multinationals to its shores.

“If you ask the firms themselves what is it about Ireland, they say it’s the talent pool – (a) young, flexible education system (and) creative ingenuity is making the difference,” he said.

When asked if Irish graduates had been benefiting from that education system then taking their skills abroad, the Taoiseach said many emigrants he spoke to were now looking to return home.

They are contacting me from American and Australia and so on, and they are coming back and they are very welcome because they bring with them new experience and energy that is devastating when you lose it through emigration.”

READ: The insolvency regime needs to be ‘energised’ because not enough people are using it >

READ:  ‘Enda Kenny’s seat isn’t safe, an independent could take it’ >

About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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