Friday, 23 November 2012

Sinn Fein alternative budget protects families, frontline services and jobs - Brady

A €3.5 billion adjustment can be made next year through fair taxes and
savings and in turn protect families, frontline services and jobs,
according to Sinn Féin County Councillor John Brady. The Wicklow
Councillor was speaking following the launch of his party’s
alternative budget ‘Making the right choices.’ Outlining a number of
the party’s measures, Brady said that the government had choices
before it which could either push struggling families over the edge
while protecting the wealthiest in society, or ensure a larger
contribution from the wealthiest while the most vulnerable sectors are

Cllr Brady said “Budgets are about choices. Do you introduce a
property tax that calls on struggling households to pay more or do you
introduce a wealth tax that asks the most well off to pay more? Do you
cut Child Benefit or do you cut politicians’ and high paid civil
servants’ wages? Do you protect tax reliefs for those who can afford
to avail of them or do you reduce the cost of petrol and diesel for
everyone? These are the choices the government has before it. For my
party the choices are obvious.

“Sinn Féin agrees that a €3.5 billion adjustment can be made next
year. In ‘Making the right choices’ we set out proposals for that
deficit adjustment and for new expenditure measures, paid for by net
new taxes of €2.758 billion and public spending savings of €1.044
billion. We include the tax carry-over of €220 million and our
expenditure measures amount to €338.68 million.

“On the tax side, we have concentrated on sections of society which we
believe can afford to pay more. So we introduce a third rate of tax of
48% on income in excess of €100,000. We propose a 1% wealth tax on net
wealth in excess of €1 million, excluding business assets, working
farms, pension pots and 20% of the family home. We propose increases
in CGT and CAT, with a reduction in the CAT threshold. We propose
targeting tax evasion. We maintain all discretionary tax reliefs but
standardise them. We introduce consumer tax on gambling. We propose a
new third rate of PRSI of 15.75% for employers on income paid over
€100,000 and we reduce the pensions related earning cap. The full list
of proposals is set out in the document and each of them is explained
through case studies and examples.

“Our savings include charging the full cost of private care in public
hospitals and increasing the use of generic drugs. We propose phasing
out the public subsidy of private schools. We want a social welfare
amnesty introduced. We want to see an emergency pay cap of €100,000
across the civil and public sector for three years, at which point we
would review the cap while bringing fairness to the remuneration paid
to the lowest and highest ranking civil and public servants. We
propose capping hospital consultant pay at €150,000, again for three
years. We also want to see politicians leading from the front, so we
propose reducing all Dáil and Seanad elected representatives’ pay,
scrapping allowances for chairs, abolishing the ‘super junior
minister’ payment, capping ministers’ special advisors’ pay, reducing
government jet spend and scrapping Oireachtas members’ mobile phone
set allowances. Again the full list is within the document and the
proposals are explained in detail.

“In addition to a section on protecting children’s rights, we also
include new expenditure to lift the recruitment embargo to hire 3,500
essential frontline staff; to resintate the almost one million home
help hours cut; to restore the training and material allowance for CE
schemes and to reduce the fee for non-doctor-referred A&E visits.

“A priority for us is to make life easier for struggling families. We
include proposals to reduce excise duty on fuel and diesel by 5 cent,
which will have a hugely positive effect on families, particularly in
rural Ireland. We take 296,000 low income workers out of the USC,
which will mean an extra €10 a week in the pocket of someone earning
€17,000 a year, or approximately €500 per year. We make allowances for
these on the tax side of our document, where we also include an
adjustment to allow for any loss after capping civil and public
servants at €100,000

“Sinn Féin has always said this crisis can be fixed by tackling
unemployment and the lack of growth, by overhauling the banks and
ending the tax payer subsidy and by cutting the deficit with fair,
growth friendly measures. These are our choices and the government
still has time to choose them too.”

The Sinn Fein Councillor concluded "The Sinn Fein alternative budget
is workable and realistic unlike the Fianna Fail proposals for Budget
2013. Thirteen of their proposals would hit those on low incomes
hardest and result in loss of jobs. Cutting capital expenditure will
mean fewer schools, fewer hospitals, less jobs and less tax revenue.
Cutting social welfare payments such as rent supplement and free
travel and increasing prescription charges for medical card holders
will hit those in greatest need hardest. What we need is a clear
change of direction. It is clear this government of Fine Gael and
Labour are singing from Fianna Fails hymn sheet, and its those polices
that have brought this Country to the very edge".

No comments:

Post a Comment