Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has said he agrees that the top rate of USC should be cut by 1% in the next Budget if Fine Gael is returned to government.

Mr Noonan said the move was fully discussed with him by the Taoiseach and he agreed with it.

He repeated the party's pledge to abolish USC completely but he said it would take five years to do so as it brought in a lot of money to the exchequer.

He said it was a crisis tax and would go as the crisis was now over.

He warned however that it will take five years before the USC the tax on income that replaced both the income levy and the health levy is completely abolished.

Mr Noonan said: "We are doing it because we believe that there is a very strong connection between the level of personal taxation and job creation.

“If you increase taxes on something you tend to get less of it. If you reduce taxes on something you tend to get more of it and we want more jobs in the country.

"We think personal taxes are too high. We are approaching it through USC rather than income tax because USC was brought in as an emergency tax by our predecessor Brian Lenihan because it was necessary and it was brought it on the basis of the crisis.

Minister Noonan was responding to an earlier indication by Taoiseach Enda Kenny that the USC rate will be further cut in the next Budget.

Mr Kenny says the measure would cost the state €around €250m - which he says would leave plenty of funds available for other measures.

Mr Noonan was speaking in Limerick this morning at the official opening of Uber's offices.