Windfall receipts is historic chance to transform our society and environment
Labour Party Finance spokesperson Ged Nash has said the windfall corporation taxes generated in Ireland represents an historic, once-off opportunity to transform our society and environment.
Deputy Nash said:
“We welcome the scoping report published by the Minister for Finance. The history of the Irish State is scarred by the experience of boom and bust. The State should be enabled to invest and support the economy during a downturn. This is just one of the reasons why Labour supports the concept of a new or enhanced savings fund.
“However, any such fund should not be instituted at the expense of the need to address the current and severe gaps in terms of capital investment in housing, hospital developments and the retrofitting of homes.
“Neither should such a mechanism be used to delay or avoid the very real need for an increase over time in employers PRSI to meet the needs of pensioners into the future. As the Tax and Welfare Commission and others recognise, social insurance contributions must catch up with EU norms.
“Our nascent State set up a family of commercial semi-state companies including the ESB to advance the development of our economy in our early years. For some time now, Labour has been advancing the argument for the development of the next generation of semi-state enterprises to meet our current and medium-term challenges.
“While we are of the view that a significant portion of the funds identified in the Department’s scoping report could well be deployed in a range of national and international funds and projects to generate a long-term return, we are clear that much of the windfall resources we will have at our disposal ought to be used in another way.
“We favour the establishment a State Housing Corporation as a commercial semi-State body to provide the housing we need on a long-term and structured basis acting as a moderating and stabilising influence on a housing sector that’s too vulnerable to the vagaries of the market.
“In addition, the resources we will have available means that the State can pay down more for the green transition and do it now.
“If we are serious about our climate goals and deliver what we should on renewables and grow our offshore generation capacity, then the State should step up and take equity stakes in those projects to make sure they happen. This is as the Taoiseach says, our 21st Century ‘moonshot’.
“We now have a chance to make the once-off investment we need to do retrofitting at scale and to invest in our ports infrastructure and third and fourth level sectors to carry out the research and innovation work we need to do to deliver on Ireland’s potential.”