Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the Government will outlaw zero hour contracts in almost all cases in new legislation which will be prioritised during this Dáil term.

In a speech to employers' group IBEC, Mr Varadkar said the Government is committed to helping create good employment, with well-paying jobs, good conditions, and pension entitlements.

He said his Government would try in the budget to reward work and benefit those on middle incomes who pay the highest rates of tax. 

"Too many people feel that they pay for everything but get little in return.

"High taxes that take away 49% of the overtime you do, the extra hours you work, or the pay increase you earned are a barrier to opportunity and to work," he said.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has already spoken about his desire to raise the point at which earners pay the top rate of tax.

However, Fianna Fáil has said the agreement underpinning the Government commits to reducing the 5% rate of USC first.

The Taoiseach also said that the Government will publish a five year roadmap for pension reform before the end of the year.

"This will include introduction of an auto-enrolment pension scheme for private sector workers, two-thirds of whom currently have no occupational pension to supplement their state pension. 

"I anticipate the first payments being made into those new individually held funds by 2021." 

Mr Varadkar said the Government is determined to protect national tax policy and will oppose any moves on corporate tax consolidation or turnover taxes on digital companies.  

Meanwhile, Ibec has named Edel Creely, Group Managing Director of Trilogy Technologies, as its new President. 

Speaking last night, Ms Creely said that the country needs "a business and tax environment that rewards success, encourages entrepreneurship and innovation, supports established companies reaching their full potential, and fosters continued investment by our multinationals."

"Next month’s budget should ensure our capital gains tax regime for entrepreneurs is better than the UK's, and our personal tax rates are competitive internationally. It is vital that businesses can attract and retain mobile talent," the new Ibec President stated.