Varadkar not ruling out tax increase on bulk buying

The Taoiseach has not ruled out further tax hikes to prevent the large scale purchase of homes by investment funds.

However, Leo Varadkar told the Dáil that any change to the stamp duty rate for bulking buying, which currently stands at 10%, would have to be thought through very carefully.

The Taoiseach said he does not like to see investors buying up homes en masse; and changes were made to the planning laws in 2021 to prevent this, but this does not apply to old planning permissions.

The Sinn Féin Leader accused the Government of failing to deliver on its promise to stop vulture funds buying up the majority homes from under the noses of first time buyers.

Mary Lou McDonald said more than 1,200 homes have been snapped up by “vultures” since the Government introduced changes three years ago.

She said the door was left open for vulture funds and Mary Lou McDonald believes the stamp duty rate for these funds is “just far too low.”

Minimum wage

Mr Varadkar also said that the Government will monitor the impact of minimum wage increases on businesses.

However, during Leaders Questions, he said that business closures are currently below average.

He told members that he takes concerns expressed by some businesses “very seriously”, adding that there was “no point” in increasing wages if people end up losing their jobs or having their hours cut.

Mr Varadkar told the Dáil that recent increases in the minimum wage were introduced following a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission.

His comments followed a contribution from Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue who told the Taoiseach that rising labour costs were making some businesses unviable.

Additional reporting: Tommy Meskill

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