The Social Democrats today launched their pre-budget submission which focuses significantly on investment with a long term vision for Irish society at its core. The party has outlined a vision that would commit 100% of the available €1.5 billion for investment purposes – making the Social Democrats the only grouping to fully prioritise investment in key services including housing, health, education and childcare.
The Leaders – Róisín Shortall, Stephen Donnelly and Catherine Murphy say they would implement revenue raising measures totalling c.€465 million which they would use to provide a tangible financial return to people leaving the agreed €1.5bllion fiscal space entirely focused on investing in public services. However, in opening the document, the Social Democrats make it clear that they do not accept the terms of the Fiscal Compact Treaty as it gives no leeway for improvement to a country like Ireland with increasing demographic pressures and the fallout from a long period of under-investment in services. Currently, the terms of the Fiscal Compact ensure that no matter how much our economy recovers, Ireland won’t be able to spend beyond the €1.5billion available in 2015 unless the terms of the Fiscal Compact are renegotiated.
Speaking ahead of the launch this morning, Stephen Donnelly TD said:
“For too long now our services have been ignored or lip-service paid to them while budgets have been used to buy votes. While it is tempting now to look at the €1.5billion and see the opportunities to try and sway people by putting an extra 5 or 10 euro back in their pocket each month, in reality, by investing in public services you can dramatically lower the cost of living thereby giving people far more back in their pocket on a daily basis than a small tax cut ever could.”
“The current national crisis in housing, the shambles that is our health system, the second highest primary class sizes In Europe and a childcare system that sees many parents paying out the equivalent a second mortgage on childcare fees all ensure that people’s disposable income is used to fund basic living necessities- making their income far less disposable. These services require significant investment and for that reason we have committed 100% of the €1.5billion available this year for investment in services.”
“We recognise that people have come through some of the hardest years financially and for that reason we would employ additional revenue raising initiatives over and above the €1.5billion in order to give something back to people in the short-term however we are very clear that our vision is a long-term one that is aimed at delivering an Ireland where high quality public services and a vibrant society go hand-in-hand with a thriving economy.”
12th October 2015
Total Fiscal Space: €1.5bn, revenue neutral, €1.5bn in investment
Capital investment, €550m
• Full government capital plan funded
• €300 million to be pumped into easing the housing crisis, including incentives to open up vacant premises such as above shops
• €75m for new primary care centres
• 100MB broadband for all primary schools
• Investment in innovation centres, community centres & cultural institutions
Non-capital investment, €1,082m
• 3,000 more teachers
• 900 new primary health care workers
• Child poverty funding to scale up area-based initiatives like youngballmum
• Parental leave extended by 10 weeks to 36 (increase to 52 weeks by 2018) & 2 weeks paid paternity leave.
• Caps on childcare fees, reducing costs by thousands of euro a year.
• Large investment in childcare quality via higher capitation to providers.
• Doubling the money Tusla are asking for family resource centres.
• Social protection measures: One Parent Family Payment, personal assistants for people with disabilities, refuge & homelessness funding, Christmas bonus, telephone allowance, fuel allowance, respite care grant, respite places, carers hours.
Revenue & Charges –Revenue Neutral
• Reduction in USC by 0.5% points up to salaries of €70k
• Abolition of the domestic water charge
• Reduction in Local Property Tax for mortgage holders
• Tax credit of €825 for the self-employed (to equal PAYE credit in 2017)
• Revenue raised via:
• Excise & junk food levy, AIB pensions levy, pension tax relief, clamp down on shadow economy, levy on bonds
End to regressive budgeting