Labour’s Alternative Budget Would Deliver A Real Pandemic Dividend

Ged Nash TD
06 October 2021
  • Carbon Tax Credit of €200 to tackle soaring cost of living
  • €7.50 inflation-busting increase to all social welfare payments
  • Taxes on wealth and clampdown on reliefs to raise €1 billion

Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said that Labour’s alternative budget plans would deliver a real and sustained pandemic dividend that would see investment in childcare, hospital waiting lists and housing over poorly targeted tax cuts.

Launching a New Deal for a Fairer Ireland, Deputy Nash said:

“We want this year’s budget to deliver real change for working people that goes beyond a once-off ‘pandemic dividend’ or an extra day off work. The Labour Party believes that a fairer, more equal Ireland must emerge from this period of crisis and deliver a new deal that supports workers and protects incomes. Central to our budget proposals is the need to tackle the soaring cost of living.

“Inflation reached 3% in August, the highest in years, while gas and electricity prices continue to soar, with multiple increases already from many suppliers. Everyone’s feeling it in their pockets, people’s pay isn’t going as far as it used to. Instead of hoping these problems go away, we are calling on government to introduce practical measures to protect up to 1 million households from the rising cost of living through a refundable Carbon Tax Credit worth €200. Targeted at families who need it most and who are living in poorly insulated homes, this credit would be phased out as homes are retrofitted and renewable energy generation increased. This is vital to push Ireland to reach our carbon targets while cushioning families who are finding it hard to make ends meet.

“The cost of heating homes is rising and will continue to rise this winter. We cannot see anyone choose between heating the house or feeding their family, so we are proposing a €5 per week increase in the fuel allowance. In recognition of soaring inflation, we also need to expand the means test for fuel allowance to cover an extra 100,000 households on social welfare payments.

“Social welfare payments have not increased since 2019 despite the huge rise in bills, groceries, rents and transport. Government must address this, and we are proposing that the government provide for a €7.50 per week increase in social welfare payments. Budgets are a time to redress the imbalance in society and protect the most vulnerable and isolated which is why we are calling on government to increase the Living Alone Allowance by €6 to €25 per week.

“Our Alternative Budget aspires to providing for social democratic European-style public services that are taken for granted in progressive societies and successful economies such as Denmark. Ordinary hard-working people can’t pick up the full tab on this.

“All evidence shows that most wealth in Ireland is held in assets – not wages. Much of that wealth is in the hands of a relative few, handed down the generations, perpetuating economic inequality in society.

“We are calling for a series of taxes on wealth that would raise €1 billion, and a further €400m from increasing and extending the Bank Levy to pay for better universal public services. In this way we can broaden, instead of narrowing the tax base, with charges and levies on non-productive wealth and assets that do not impact on work, job creation nor impact on the spending power of ordinary working families.

“Budget 2022 is a real opportunity for Ireland to build back fairer. Our Budget proposals focus on the key areas of work, care, climate and housing – the foundations on which a fairer post-pandemic society can be built.”

ENDS

New Deal for a Fairer Ireland – Labour’s Alternative Budget is available at this link: https://www.labour.ie/assets/files/pdf/a_new_deal_labour_budget_2022.pdf 

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