Stamp duty delays FG-Labour manifesto
Miriam Donohoe, Political Staff
The launch of the Fine Gael and Labour joint economic manifesto has been delayed, due to a failure of the parties to agree the final detail of stamp duty reform proposals.
While the two parties have said the delay is due to “timing issues”, it is understood there is disagreement on whether the proposed stamp duty changes be phased in over three years, as proposed by Fine Gael, or introduced in one go, as favoured by Labour.
Apart from this sticking point the two parties have reached general consensus on the details of their taxation and economic package. A draft plan has been written, but is being edited and rewritten as it was considered too detailed and not user-friendly enough.
Before signing off on the plan and the issue of whether to phase in stamp duty reform, the parties are to get briefings on the current state of the property market, as well as up-to-date stamp duty exchequer return figures from the Department of Finance.
They are to meet again next week to sign off on the proposals.
A Labour Party source said last night there was concern that the stamp duty proposals must not have an adverse effect on the property market, and there was unease over Fine Gael’s proposal to phase in reform over three years.
“If you phase them in you will have people who will wait for the full provisions to be in place before they buy and that could influence the market. We think it would be best to do what we plan to do in one go.”
A Fine Gael source said last night: “There is no major division and we are in agreement on the principles of the stamp duty changes. How the changes are implemented has still to be finalised.”
The document was originally expected prior to the Fine Gael Ardfheis last month and then before the DÃ¡il Easter recess. Last week the parties said it was further deferred out of concern the launch would be overshadowed by the Taoiseach’s meeting with Ian Paisley and the publication of the report into the Dublin and Monaghan bombings.
On stamp duty it is understood the parties have agreed the proposals outlined by Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny in Limerick on March 22nd.
They include the abolition of the duty for first-time buyers of second-hand homes worth up to â‚¬450,000 and a simplification of rules, reducing the number of rates from seven to three.
The economic policy proposes cutting the lower rate of tax from 20 to 18 per cent, indexation of tax bands and an increase in allowances for single-income families with children.
Â© 2007 The Irish Times