I have been making my submissions for Budget 2016 to the Ministers over the past few weeks; Each time I’ve made the point that we should never have been made pay for the greed of those few who ran the banks and there’s no effect on them or their lifestyle; the Irish people have suffered far too much as it is. My submissions have stressed the areas in crisis which need massive investment now such as Housing & Addiction Recovery but also our soaring costs such as Property tax, Childcare, Rent, Mortgage Rates, USC and Water. The Christmas bonus & Lone Parent payment must be fully restored. Whatever this budget gives we will not forget the past 7 years.
I would hope to see in the Budget 2016…
A fast tracked funding programme for building of local authority houses, the Government need to face this emergency head on, 2020/ 2030 strategies are all well and good long-term but do absolutely nothing to halt the misery people are facing, many sleeping on streets for fear of going to hostels, families trying to raise children in hotels with no facilities to cook, no laundry facilities, subject to being moved if the hotel becomes fully booked, huge distances to schools. People on local authority waiting lists for years on years with no end in sight, people in mortgage arrears with banks that were kept solvent by their very own taxes, people privately renting facing unjust hikes in rent with no rent supplement increases. The Government must realise that people are suffering daily and that needs to be the priority of the budget- Fix the Housing Crisis! and fix it quickly. I spoke in the Dail about how homeless has increased since last year and the numbers are going up and up, it is as clear as day that the current strategy is NOT working and a new approach needs to be taking that will provide a fast paced building programme and an opening up of voids while this building programme takes shape.
Corporations Must Pay their fair share…
People pay their taxes week in and week out but other large scale corporations avoid and evade like an art. The Government will always scare monger that any raise in corporation tax will mean that multinationals will pack up and leave with their lobs and that was the tone they took during the Private Members myself and other TD’s raised this week. Firstly that is not true there are many factors that make Ireland a suitable place to do business and, Secondly I do NOT want to raise corporation tax as I feel we have a competitive rate which helps our investment all that I and like minded TDs want is for corporations to ACTUALLY pay the 12.5% rate without excuse, a rate that is still much lower then other EU countries (UK 18%, France, Spain 20% +) Tax avoidance by corporations is directly costing our ability to fund infrastructure, hospitals, education… etc and this country has been highlighted as being a facilitator of tax avoidance by large multinationals.
If Austerity is over then reverse the policy…
For so long the Government has blamed the economic downturn and cowardly blaming the Brian Cowan government mess on their budgetary decisions- Now that the economy is picking up again show some compassion and reverse the decisions that have impacted greatly on some and not at all on others. It is clear that middle income families have suffered and higher income people would hardly know that a recession was going on. The property tax was particularity unfair by taxing families and persons who own properties regardless of their income and wealth. Many former local authority tenants saved every penny they had to purchase their home, a home that is now taxed with this new measure taking no regard for their actual financial situation. USC and water charges have impacted greatly on middle income families and it is clear that Irish Water is a failed entity that needs to be abolished as from day one it has been nothing but blunder, consultant fees and wasting of tax payers money.
Despite the budgets of plenty during the Celtic Tiger no government in memory has gotten the Health Service correct. I have long called for intellectual disability nurses in A&E’s to relieve over worked and under pressure doctors and nurses and combined with a separate A&E’s for people with addiction problems to help the crisis and provide suitable care for those suffering with addiction related illnesses and mental health problems who need specific care. It is clear from the last 20+ budgets that throwing money at the HSE is not a constructive way of tacking our appalling Health Service. Priority need to be put on the patients care and well being and provide dignity for the elderly especially as the current system falters in that regard in every way. This particular Government needs to stop passing the book to private health care and actually offer a first class system that we see in other progressive countries.
With taxation it is a very simple message… Those who earn less should pay less and those who earn more should pay more. For too many years low and middle income families have had a huge burden placed on them that needs to be reversed. The Government will argue that we have a low rate of income tax in this country but when you consider the out of hand taxes we pay on childcare being the obvious example it is clear that we make up the rest on VAT and indirect taxation that other Europeans do not have to pay for. With the big push towards private care in health for example I would expect and hope to see big reductions in the rate of taxation for low and middle incomes.
Social Welfare is not where the vast vast majority of people want to be! We will always hear of the social welfare recipients who play the system by conservative commentators but I can advocate first hand from my office calls that 99% of social welfare recipients want nothing more than to work and need to be treated with dignity while they re-skill, re-educate and re-evaluate their employment credentials and options. I would call for a full re-introduction of the Christmas bonus which so many unemployed people in Dublin Central rely on for that present for their child or the Christmas turkey.
Pensioners have worked and paid their taxes all their lives and should be treated with dignity in the latter stages of their lives. I would hope that their will be an increase to the basic pension rate for persons on a state pension and reintroduction of measure such as the home phone grant which saved many elderly people who are not internet literate
School building programmes and class sizes need to be tackled and provided for. I would also call for a reinstatement of teachers allowances and stop the two tier system that discriminates against newly qualified teachers. Measures such as the school completion programme need to move back to the education portfolio and be funded adequately as it directly helps children from disadvantaged areas that otherwise would fall through the cracks of the education system.
This countries reliance on cars especially in the greater Dublin Area needs to be stopped with providing good reliable public transport which has the ability to fund new projects . I am also very much in favour of keeping our public transport state owned and to use innovation to improve profit lagging transport providers rather then using privatisation as the only option.
Social Impact Analysis
Last year I introduced a bill calling for ‘human rights based’ budgets; which basically calls for a social impact analysis of all budgetary decisions. Later today the Government will be introducing measure that could impact greatly on families without any proper impact analysis done. This lack of analysis further cements my point that Leinster House is so far detached from the people it supposedly represents that it is infuriating
Fairness has to be the Priority….
The basic message is that the people who suffered the burden of austerity need to be rewarded in budget 2016. So long low and middle income families have suffered due to the reckless gambles of others and it is time to prioritise fairness…