Dáil Éireann - Volume 390 - 16 May, 1989

Written Answers. - Average Industrial Wage.

82. Mr. J. Mitchell asked the Minister for Finance the average industrial wage after income tax and social insurance contribution of (a) a single person (b) a married person, spouse not working, with no children (c) a married person, spouse not working, with two children (d) a married person, spouse not working, with four children and (e) a married person, spouse not working, with six children; if he will give like figures for the United Kingdom, Germany, The Netherlands and Italy; and if he has drawn any conclusions from these figures.

Minister for Finance (Mr. Reynolds): The following table sets out the information requested by the Deputy in so far as it is available. For comparison purposes the information provided in the table is given in the form of an index in which income after tax and social insurance contributions in each country is expressed as a percentage of gross earnings in that country taken at a base value of 100.

Average Industrial Wage after income tax and social insurance contributions taking gross earnings as base 100.

Ireland (1989-90)

Ireland (1987-88)

UK 1987

Germany 1987

Netherlands 1987

Italy 1987








Married with two children







[83] As regards the final part of the question, the figures for Ireland are not significantly out of line with the general position disclosed in the table for the year for which comparable figures are shown. This reflects, inter alia, the fact that the level of social security contributions in Ireland is relatively low by European Community standards. I am concerned, however, to reduce the burden of income tax. That is why, in this year's budget, I introduced a package of income tax measures which are estimated to cost over £200 million in the 1989-90 tax year and include increases in the general and age exemption limits and the introduction of a child addition of £200 per child in conjunction with those limits; extensions of the standard rate and 48 per cent rate bands; and reductions in the standard and 58 per cent rates.


(1) The 1987 information for all countries (including Ireland for 1987-88) is taken from the annual OECD publication The Tax-Benefit Position of Production Workers, 1988 edition. This booklet shows the amount of tax and social insurance contributions payable by a worker earning the average wage in manufacturing industry, where the average is taken as the adult wage rate for males and females combined.

The 1989-90 data for Ireland reflect an estimate of the average adult industrial wage (based on published CSO data for 1988).

(2) The OECD publication referred to above provides data in respect of only two marital status groups; a single person and a married couple with two children where one spouse has an income from employment outside the home.