Thursday, 22 March 2012
Finance Bill 2012 (Certified Money Bill): Committee and Remaining Stages
David Cullinane (Sinn Fein)
I was there three weeks ago but that is irrelevant. I would say I am there more often than Senator Harte. The question we must ask is whether the Government is making the right political, economic and social choices. It is our view - the Government does not have to agree - that it is not making the right choices across the board.
I fail to see how increasing VAT by 2% can be seen as a wise choice. Senator Reilly spoke about the impact on Border counties but it also has an impact in other areas. We have all met retailers who are struggling. We presented pre-budget proposals on finding alternative sources of money rather than going back to the same well of low to middle income families. I listened to the Minister’s explanation for the VAT increase but I take issue with his claim that VAT is not a regressive form of taxation. It is nonsense to pretend VAT is not regressive because it applies to people regardless of their income. Senator Reilly listed all the products that people must buy. It makes a mockery of the Government’s decision to reduce VAT to benefit the tourism sector.