06 October 2016

Labour Party leader, Brendan Howlin TD, along with Finance Spokesperson, Joan Burton TD, and Spokesperson on Public Expenditure and Reform, Seán Sherlock TD, have launched the party’s alternative budget in Dublin today, which contains a fully costed and progressive set of proposals for the coming year.

The document, ‘Building a Shared Prosperity’ is made up of seven sections, with a key focus on children and families, young people, workers and those out of work, and health.

Speaking at today’s launch, Deputy Howlin said:

“Labour’s alternative budget is deliberately framed as a complete alternative budget, because we believe that a fully costed, progressive budget is possible. And because we have a responsibility to have proposals ready that can be implemented if the need arises.

We all know that the fiscal space for 2017 is limited.

Over recent months, Joan Burton and Sean Sherlock, along with all of my parliamentary colleagues, have been exploring how best to use the available funding.

And it became clear to all of us that a tax cut that will barely cover the cost of a cut of coffee each week, was a poor trade off against the opportunity to make a step-change in investment in some key areas.

The start of the document sets out our overall approach, and details the small number of measures we have proposed to increase the available funding.

You won’t find a billion in fanciful tax increases here.  Neither will you find a pittance of a tax cut.

The remainder of the document shows the investments that could be made in public services and infrastructure.

In particular, the childcare plan developed by Jan O’Sullivan is detailed in this document, with a universal scheme for all families with children under 12, and an additional month of shared parental leave.

We also make clear that all welfare payments should be indexed – not just the pension. 

We have fully costed the reintroduction of free dental benefits for those in work; a reduction in class sizes and the student contribution; and major investment in cycling, roads, and solar power in schools.

Even with a constrained budget, we have made significant commitments to funding the arts, and to growing our Overseas Development contribution. 

That would be something all of our people could be proud of. These are the type of choices Ireland should be making.

The direct 2:1 split proposed by Fine Gael at the election was, we believe, rejected by the Irish people. And we don’t believe they should persist with it. Labour’s alternative budget would help Ireland to build a shared prosperity.

It would see a step-change in investment in our public services. And it would deliver much, much greater value to our people.”




Building a Shared Prosperity

We believe investment in public services will best deliver for the Irish people this year. That is why we are proposing a total investment of €1.74 billion. 70% of that will be on current expenditure, 30% on capital. Key highlights include:

An Ambitious Plan for Affordable Childcare      

  • Labour’s Universal Childcare Scheme

€71 million

  • Implement a living wage for all childcare workers

€62.6 million

  • Additional 4 weeks of shared parental leave

€42 million

(Children & Young People Total: €177 million)

Smaller Class Sizes & Reducing School Costs     

  • Reduce Pupil Teacher Ratio in Primary & Second Level

€22 million

  • €10 increase in capitation, raised to €20 for schools that end voluntary contributions for parents

€14.4 million

  • Seed funding for post-primary book rental scheme

€5 million

(Education Total: €268 million)

Recognising the Increased Cost of Living                             

  • €5 weekly increase to State Pensions

€154.8 million

  • €5 monthly increase child benefit & domiciliary care allowance

€75.1 million

  • Indexation of other welfare payments

€123.2 million

(Social Protection Total: €361 million)

The Party for Healthier Communities

  • Early Intervention Teams for children with disabilities

€53.5 million

  • PRSI Dental benefits, more public dental staff

€37.5 million

  • Reduce Prescription Charges to €1 with €10 cap

€69 million

  • Home Care Package Funding, more Home Help

€38.2 million

  • Better Mental Health including access to counselling in primary care services for 16-25 year olds

€11.2 million

  • Dignified Maternity Services

€26.2 million

  • Community Intervention Teams

€10 million

(Health Total: €375 million)

The Party for Young People

  • Increased funding for 3rd level

€61 million

  • Reduction in student contribution by €500

€37 million

  • Reinstatement of postgraduate grants

€40 million

  • 2,000 more apprenticeships

€10 million

  • Improving Jobseeker payments to young people

€15.7 million


We have also funded a Living Wage for all civil servants, acceleration of public pay restoration, a better deal for young teachers and nurses, and changing the mandate of the Low Pay Commission.

We provide a 10% increase in Arts funding and the retention of the additional money provided for the commemorative programme.

We will fund a 20 cent subvention per trip for the city bikes scheme, funding for it’s expansion, and €60 million in capital for cycle ways. We will fund solar panels on schools, and a 2% in the subvention for public transport. We provide a 5% in the overseas development aid budget, and funding for 800 additional Gardaí.

On other capital spending we commit to connecting our country by funding all road projects that are ready to go worth €61 million, and provide €10 million for planning on the M20 Cork to Limerick motorway. We also commit further money to public housing construction, adaptation grants and increased HAP funding, alongside an extra €50 million for school building, and €50 million to provide extra hospital beds.




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