The 1 per cent employment levy was introduced as a temporary measure by the Minister for Finance in the 1993 budget. The levy does not apply where an employee's income for the year is not greater than £9,000. This income threshold ensures that, in addition to the 290,000 taxpayers who are exempted from income tax, a further 217,000 taxpayers will not be affected by the levy. This threshold will also ensure that many employees in lower paid labour-intensive, indigenous industries will not be affected.
The introduction of the levy has to be seen against the background of the income increases and tax improvements of recent years, which have produced a significant increase in real take — home pay and incomes generally. The revenue from this temporary measure has helped to maintain a sound budgetary policy which, in turn, has contributed to the significant reductions in interest rates which have occurred since the budget.
It is my view that the levy as a temporary measure is unlikely to be a serious handicap to existing employment.