Tuesday, 13 December 2005
Paudge Connolly (Cavan-Monaghan, Independent)
Will the Minister examine the position of our near neighbour regarding the benefits of the indexation order of 1987 for workers in the UK? Will he agree that order was brought in for good reason in a time of high inflation? Will he agree also that in 2002, one in four workers were in the top rate of tax but now one in three workers are in the top rate of tax? That represents an extra 160,000 people, although 40,000 of those are new jobs. Will the Minister agree also that a promise was made under Sustaining Progress that only one in five people would be in the top tax bracket and 80% would be in the lower bracket but that now 66% are in the lower tax bracket, which is unfair?
Will he agree also that the consumer price index is 8% higher now than it was in 2002 yet the threshold for the higher tax rate rose only by 5%, in addition to the fact that wages are increasing, driving people more quickly into the higher tax bracket? I am sure the Minister will agree that people are no sooner out of the higher tax bracket when they are driven back into it again. Does he agree that people are put into a higher tax bracket at a relatively low wage base and that they must sit back and watch millionaires use schemes to avoid paying tax?