Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (136)

Micheál Martin


136. Deputy Micheál Martin asked the Minister for Finance if he has received advice from his officials regarding possible tax cuts in view of the threat of Brexit as outlined in the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24929/19]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

The decision of the UK to leave the European Union gives rise to unprecedented challenges for Ireland across all economic sectors.

The Government have taken steps to maximise the resilience of the economy so that it may effectively manage the negative economic developments. National budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit.

Budget 2019 maintained the overall approach of prudent financial management to strengthen the resilience of Ireland’s economy against the backdrop of heightened uncertainty.

As Minister for Finance, I receive advice from a wide variety of sources on an ongoing basis. In the normal course of business I am involved in ongoing discussions with my officials as part of the preparation for Budget 2020. A key part of this process is the work of the Tax Strategy Group whose policy papers, prepared by officials, set out the issues identified and options to be considered as part of the annual Budgetary process. I would expect these papers to be published in July.

Also, the Summer Economic Statement, to be published later this month, will set out the Government’s overall economic and budgetary strategy and establish the parameters for the forthcoming Budget, particularly in the context of the increased probability being assigned to a disorderly Brexit.

In addition, the recent IFAC report is under consideration while there are a number of tax policy consultations and studies ongoing that are likely to contribute to the tax formulation process. The Deputy will be aware that the National Economic Dialogue will take place on 26th and 27th June. This Dialogue will be an opportunity for stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds to consider how to optimise available resources in the interests of all citizens.

Naturally, I am not in a position at this point to set out what may be contained in the forthcoming Budget or Finance Bill. However, as part of the Programme for a Partnership Government, I remain committed to reducing excessive tax rates for middle income earners while also maintaining a broad tax base. As Ireland’s economy has recovered over the last number of years, tax reductions have been utilised to increase the reward for work and support enterprise and employment.