IRELAND: Green minister calls for one-off ‘solidarity tax’ on high earners and companies that have benefited from pandemic.

As published on independent.ie, Monday 12 April, 2021.

Green Party junior minister Joe O’Brien has asked the Minister for Finance for a single tax on high earners and companies which have been highly profitable during the pandemic.

Last week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said in its bi-annual fiscal monitor report that companies which prospered during the pandemic and high earners should pay a “solidarity” tax.

This would help to reduce social inequalities which have been exacerbated by the crisis, according to the IMF, and help support those who were hit hardest.

In a letter to Minister Paschal Donohoe and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath, Mr O’Brien said that this would help with social recovery.

“There is the very real scenario that some are accumulating savings and or wealth during this time while others are facing severe financial distress that is worsening the longer the pandemic remains,” the Minister of State at the Department of Rural and Community Development writes.

“The symbolic impact of such a contribution can be hugely important in social solidarity – particularly in these very exceptional circumstances.”

He said that this would help to reaffirm the message that “we are all in this together” to the public.

“The proposal sets out a rationale based on strengthening social cohesion and positively impacting public mood by making it abundantly clear that we are all in this together,” the letter states.

He asked for a meeting with the Ministers to “explore the possibility of such an option” in Ireland as part of seeking a “forge a pathway out of the current crisis”.

Speaking this morning virtually at the Social Inclusion Forum, Minister O’Brien said that the solidarity tax would also provide an “economic mechanism” which would “offset” the deepening of inequalities.

This would be an important way of showing solidarity with those worst hit by the economic impacts of the pandemic but also provide a very real and tangible economic mechanism that could help offset the potential of the pandemic to deepen inequality,” he told the Forum.

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