Budget 2019 must support families and a social recovery
Labour Finance spokesperson Joan Burton TD, speaking at the launch of Labour’s alternative budget proposals for 2019 has said the Government must deliver a social recovery, and support families by investing in public services, rather than tax cuts.
As part of a fully costed proposal, Labour has proposed €2.2bn in expenditure measures, alongside an additional capital investment of €940m in 2019, balanced with €1.53bn of tax measures and the available fiscal space.
Deputy Burton said:
“On the 10 year anniversary of the banking collapse, the Labour Party wants to see a social recovery, and our view is the Government needs to tell people when will this happen. If not now, then when? Our fully costed Alternative Budget provides the investment needed to do so.
“We are proposing a number of measures to support incomes, invest in public services and provide real benefits to families.
“There is an existential crisis for our country in health and housing, and we propose to commit nearly an extra €1bn in health, and further capital investment in housing to ensure 10,000 social housing units are built by local authorities in 2019.
“We also outline a series of tax measures to fund this, and I have proposed that there should be no further reductions in the USC which should be renamed the Health Contribution.
“We would raise child benefit by €5, provide a universal payment in the summer to parents to meet the costs of clothing and footwear, outline proposals to deliver free education, and halve the cost of childcare for parents.
“We would also invest in our arts and heritage, public transport and climate action. We also propose a number of key measures to prepare for a hard Brexit to support business, invest in R&D and prepare for the worst.
“The Government must also now answer serious questions that arise from the C&AG report on income tax, showing those earning over €50m making little or no income tax contribution.”
The full docoment “Building a New Republic – Labour’s Alternative Budget 2019′ is available here:
Proposals in our Alternative Budget ‘Building a New Republic include:
- Funding to end child poverty with substantial increases to the qualified child increase payment.
- A €5 increase in weekly social welfare payments, increases in the fuel allowance, living alone allowance, carer’s support grant and working family payment
- €40m to support young people, lone parents and people with disabilities into employment.
- Funding to ensure all public servants and child care workers are paid a living wage and provide for pay equalisation.
- The Labour Party has proposed a comprehensive and costed €16 billion plan to provide at least 80,000 units of affordable housing over five years.
- We would build 10,000 council houses next year. There are plans for 6,385 council homes to be built in 2019. We would use €723m from the additional fiscal space available to build 3,615 units.
- We would commit an extra €27m to Housing Adaptation grants, provide for increased rental accommodation inspection and create a new payment to meet the needs of those in emergency accommodation of €30 per week.
- We would rename the USC the Health Contribution, retain it, and commit it to the Health Service. We would also commit in total to just under €1bn to additional spending in health next year including pay provisions.
- Labour is specifically providing for an extra €574.5m alongside the extra spending already allocated for demographics, capital and pay measures.
- We would commit an extra €140m to open up to 450 acute hospital beds
- We would reduce the prescription charge by €1 and the Drugs Payment Threshold to €100 per month; and we would invest in primary care, additional home help and long term residential care facilities.
- We commit an extra €50m to mental health, and have detailed a number of measures to support women including the rollout of free contraception.
- We would increase Child Benefit by €5 and halve the cost of childcare for parents.
- Implement free education with a universal payment for clothes and footwear, a free school books scheme, and funding to increase capitation in our schools.
- We would lower the pupil teacher ratio at primary, second and third level.
- We would lower the student contribution by €1000, and increase SUSI grants.
Further details are outlined in the full document.