Noonan denies low income earners facing hike in USC

The Finance Minister Michael Noonan is denying that low earners are facing a huge increase in their rate of Universal Social Charge from next January.

It had been reported that 360 thousand people - who currently pay a USC rate of 4% - will have to pay 7% next year.

Michael Noonan says that when the levy was implemented by Fianna Fail, the lower rate was set to expire in January 2015 but that does not mean it can't be extended in the same way at the 9% VAT rate was last year.

He also says that while budget discussions are not yet underway, he wants to do all that he can to help those on low pay.

Mr Noonan said: "People on a low income, cannot afford any extra taxes at present, and I regard them as the people whose standard of living is most vulnerable to tax.

"I am not taking budget decisions in May, but you can be sure it will be a high priority not to impose additional burdens on people of modest income."

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