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Taoiseach Micheál Martin Sam Boal
Universal Social Charge

Taoiseach says USC will not be abolished due to increased public expenditure in recent years

Martin said that it would not be abolished due to the rise in public expenditure in recent years.

TAOISEACH MICHEÁL MARTIN has said that the Government would not be abolishing the Universal Social Charge (USC) to help ease pressure on people, despite the rising cost of living.

Speaking on Today FM’s The Last Word, Martin said that he had to be honest with people and that the USC is needed due to increasing demand for public expenditure.

“It will not be abolished. We have to be honest with people all the time, there are increasing demands on public expenditure,” said Martin

“The last two years have seen an unprecedented intervention by government in the state, in the economy. Underpinning wages, underpinning employers.

“It has been quite unprecedented, we have borrowed a lot to do that.”

It comes as the Government unveiled their plans to tackle the rising cost of living last week, with a 20% cut to public transport fares, increasing a one off electricity credit to €200 and providing a lump sum fuel allowance payment.

Criticism was levelled at the government by opposition politicians and social justice groups over the measures, with advocacy group One Family calling it a “missed opportunity”.

The Taoiseach also said that the VAT on both petrol and diesel would not be cut, saying that it would lead to higher bills when it was returned to the current rates.

“We are already at 13.5%, if we came down, say to 12%, we would end the derogation that we currently have,” Martin said.

“We’d then end up coming back on a higher number, which would mean ultimately costlier bills for people so the Department of Finance advises against that.

Martin defended the measures taken by the Government in the recent package, saying that he hoped the current pattern of inflation was only a “temporary phenomenon”.

He said that no package was going to alleviate the pressure for everyone, and that the next best thing was to ease as much pressure as possible on as many people as possible.

“In a package like this, it was never going to alleviate the entire situation for people.

“What we’ve endeavored to do is to do the best we can to give some alleviation to as many people as possible while doing initiatives that align with government policy.”

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