Labour launches plan for economic and social progress
STATEMENT BY TANAISTE JOAN BURTON
Monday, February 8th 2016
LABOUR LAUNCHES PLAN FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL PROGRESS
The Labour Party this morning launched its plan for economic and social progress, ‘A Strong Economy for a Decent Society’.
The plan is built on three pillars: improving living standards for working people; creating more jobs and better opportunities; and investing in the services families and communities need.
Tanaiste Joan Burton was joined at the event by Minister for Public Expenditure Brendan Howlin, Minister for Communications Alex White, and Galway West TD, Derek Nolan. The plan commits to:
· Balance the budget and reduce our national debt to 75% of GDP by 2021;
· Invest €3 in services for families and communities for every €1 reduction in tax;
· Invest an additional €8.368bn in the services families and communities need and reduce tax by €2.866bn for low and middle income earners.
Labour intends to use our strong economy to continue to build a decent society. Specifically, we will:
· Deliver a job for everyone who wants one by 2018 through the creation of at least 150,000 jobs over the next three years;
· Abolish USC the first €72,000 of income and target additional relief to the low paid through reductions in PRSI;
· Increase the Minimum Wage and raise it to a Living Wage of €11.30 per hour;
· Create 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship places over the next five years
· Increase the state pension to €260;
· Make free GP available to all;
· Reduce class sizes to the smallest levels in the history of the State;
· Cap and reduce childcare costs, increase child benefit, and extend parental leave.
Speaking at the event, Tanaiste Joan Burton said: “Our plan is very clear – and very fair. We will abolish USC on the first €72,000 of individual income.
“That will deliver significant benefits for low and middle-income workers. At the same time, we will reduce PRSI for the lowest-paid workers. And we’ll freeze the gains through a claw-back mechanism for the very highest earners.
“That’s what it means to stand up for low and middle-income workers. We’ll ensure that they will be gradually freed of this penal tax.”
Minister Brendan Howlin added: “The next step is to transform a recovered economy into a decent society. As Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform I know, better than most the pressures that are build up over the difficult years in the public services. Pressures we can now begin to relieve.
“We intend to deploy €11.2bn over the next five years split on a three to one ratio between public services and tax reductions. That’s €3bn for our health services. Over €2bn for education. And €1.7bn for Social protection increases like the old age pension.”
Minister Alex White stated: “A Strong Economy for a Decent Society confirms Labour’s commitment to invest €3 in services for families and communities for every €1 that we take off tax, over the next five years.
“This will enable us to invest in even more job creation – quality, high-skilled jobs that provide a career – and deliver public services and infrastructure capable of giving our children a society and economy fit for the 21st century and beyond.”
Link to ‘A Strong Economy for a Decent Society’ – http://labr.ie/1ok92bK