Taoiseach promises USC cut - for higher earners - if re-elected

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny has fired the first shot in the General Election campaign, without naming the day.

Mr Kenny has launched Fine Gael's digital advertising campaign under the slogan "Your Hard Work is Working".

However, despite being asked again by reporters to name the day, Mr Kenny says he has a date in his head but is not ready to reveal it just yet.

The Taoiseach said: "I've already said the election will be held early in the Spring and I'm sticking with that.

"I have a date in my head. I'll share that when I decide to go out to Arás an Uachtaráin, but obviously everybody knows a General Election is on the way, and we'll have that in the Spring."

Also, the Taoiseach all but confirmed that the highest rate of the Universal Social Charge will be cut again in the next Budget.

Mr Kenny says the measure would cost the State €250m, leaving plenty of funds available for other measures.

He also defended the decision to start by cutting the higher rate, even though it would affect fewer people.

He said: "We have made adjustments to the lower rate and adjustments in other areas, to the increase in the minimum wage.

"The cost of the reduction for a further 1% to 4.5% will be about €250m.

"That leaves plenty of leeway in respect of other possibilities for investment given the progress that the economy is making."

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