The Workers’ Party have condemned the 30-year “corporation tax holiday” the government is granting AIB in order to attract private investors in the state bank.
Workers’ Party representative Gavin Mendel-Gleason said:
Its extraordinary that, for the period AIB has been in state hands, loopholes allowing the bank to avoid corporation tax have been closed off. But as soon as the bank is set to return to private hands, the Minister for Finance announces a massive tax holiday. It demonstrates the government’s transparent favouritism for the private sector.
The Workers’ Party has previously called for AIB to be retained in state ownership for strategic investment in public housing and industry.
Mendel-Gleason said the revelations about AIB’s tax holiday reveal the motivations at play with the sale, saying:
This news makes clear without a shadow of a doubt that the government’s determination to sell off the bank is about maximising profits for private investors – not about protecting taxpayers’ interests.
We are consistently told that competition laws prevent the state from giving this type of preferential treatment to public services, public enterprises, post offices, credit unions etc. And yet it seems Noonan has no problem at all with giving preferential treatment to AIB just as it is handed over to private speculators so they can reap the benefits. It is this, and nothing else, that our Fine Gael government are concerned with.